Bangkok Braces for Flooding.

The Royal Irrigation Department yesterday urged the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to raise flood protection walls along the banks of the Chao Phraya River by another metre, as the capital braces for flooding.

The higher walls would help protect communities in Bangkok from the incoming floods which could overflow the banks, department officials said.

The department also suggested that people living on the banks of the river in Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Bangkok move their valuables, pets and vehicles to higher ground.

The risk of flooding in the three provinces is high from tomorrow until Wednesday due to the increasing volume of water in the Chao Phraya combined with the high tide during the period.

The volume of water in the section of the river that passes Ayutthaya’s Bang Sai district is expected to be between 3,500 and 4,000 cubic metres per second during those three days.

As of yesterday, the floods, the worst in decades, had hit 27 provinces and resulted in 33 deaths since Oct 10, according to the Emergency Medical Institute.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday appointed his adviser, Apirak Kosayodhin, to coordinate flood protection measures with the BMA, provincial governors and local administration organisation chiefs.

Mr Abhisit will also chair a meeting of representatives from agencies involved today.

Mr Abhisit said he planned to propose measures in Tuesday’s cabinet meeting to increase the emergency relief fund for flood-affected provinces and would introduce measures to allow officers in those regions to skip certain procedures to help speed up relief operations.

The prime minister yesterday inspected Ban Kut Lalom village in Chaiyaphum’s Muang district, which has been cut off by rising flood waters.

He also expressed concern over what would happen once flood waters from the North reach the Central Plains.

Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said the BMA has prepared measures to cope with possible flooding in the city.

The measures include the reinforcement of damaged flood protection walls with 200,000 additional sandbags, and raising the walls in 13 at-risk areas in Bang Phlat, Bangkok Noi and Dusit districts.

The BMA is building temporary wood bridges and walkways in 27 communities in 12 districts and is preparing more than 1,000 water-pumping machines.

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