Bangkok on Full Alert

Flows from North due as rainwaters set to break from Chao Phya Dam.

Flood waters flowing down from the North will hit Bangkok next week, inundating homes and areas near the Chao Phya River and tributary canals, with the high-tide period next Tuesday and Wednesday being the most dangerous, writes The Nation.

The warning from the Royal Irrigation Department yesterday came with more bad news: maritime traffic in most natural waterways in the entire Chao Phya basin in the Central region, covering many provinces, will be paralysed by strong currents both during the period and subsequently.

The excessive volumes of rainwater trapped in areas in the lower Ping and Yom River basins will exceed the capacity of the Chao Phya Dam in Chai Nat province. The dam traps rainwater between the North and the Central region before releasing it southward to Bangkok, the Agriculture Ministry said, to the Nation.

The Royal Irrigation Department has advised those living by the Chao Phya or canals in Bangkok to stay alert and move their belongings to higher positions to avoid damage in the event of floods. The embankment walls built to ward off the threat of flooding along the Chao Phya in the Central provinces north of Bangkok have resulted in the water rising to a higher level than usual.

After two weeks of countrywide inundation, the government yesterday set up a war room to deal with the flooding – in Bangkok only – in the coming days. Secretary to the PM Korbsak Sabhavasu said extra attention was being given to prevent the capital from being flooded in the next few days when the waters reach Bangkok.

The Interior Ministry yesterday ordered an action plan to deal with the flooding in the Central region, which has been badly hit for many days. During an inspection visit by Interior Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul to Nonthaburi province, Ayutthaya Governor Witthaya Phewphong complained that all flood-prevention efforts and media attention were now being directed towards Bangkok while his province had been neglected.

Witthaya made a specific request for flat-bed boats to enable evacuation of people and transport of their properties, as it is now too late to carry out any preventive measures in his province, which is flooded regularly each year during the wet season.

A Bangkok Metropolitan Administration official said during the meeting that a final 1.2-kilometre stretch of permanent flood dykes along the Chao Phya River could not be built in time, but temporary 3-metre sandbag embankments had been put in place.

Samut Prakan Governor Cherdsak Choosri said that as his province bordered the sea, it would suffer heavy flooding.

He said major thoroughfares such as Srinagarindra and Sukhumvit roads could be briefly but heavily flooded before all the water drained off into the sea.


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