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King and Queen ask military to help victims

Posted by hasekamp on 30 October 2011 at 11:03 AM
Their Majesties the King and Queen are concerned about the welfare of Thais in the wake of flooding and have asked the military to do its best to help them, Army commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha said yesterday. Speaking during an inspection visit to an Air Force facility that provides relief support and shelters to flood evacuees, the general called on the public to trust that the military would never give up on helping them. He urged people to stay strong mentally. He said the flood victims would be best helped if they gathered in large groups after leaving their inundated homes. "Although the military never neglects its responsibility of serving the public, soldiers cannot reach out to every single home and help all occupants. The flood victims need to manage themselves and gather in large groups so that delivery of relief supplies or evacuation can be made easier," he said. Referring to Their Majesties' concern for the Thai people, Prayuth said both the King and Queen had asked the military to do its best to help the flood victims. "Although the King is not so well, he has always been concerned about Thai people, but his health is improving," he added. (Source: The Nation)


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Prices go up

Posted by hasekamp on 30 October 2011 at 10:59 AM
The price of essential goods has nearly doubled while some products are in short supply in the wake of massive flooding in Bangkok and nearby areas. A survey in Samut Prakan, near the capital, found bottled water was now Bt95-100 per unit, up from Bt50, while a pack of 24 chicken eggs has gone up to Bt150-180 from Bt110. There was also short supply of rice at several outlets, while the quality of tap water in parts of Samut Prakan has dropped. (Source: The Nation)


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279 gas stations closed

Posted by hasekamp on 30 October 2011 at 10:56 AM
The Energy Ministry Saturday reported that the flood disaster in Bangkok and vicinity provinces has caused 279 petrol stations to close. The ministry spokesman Pachara Naripthapan said there were 39 stations in Bangkok, 57 stations in Nonthaburi, 84 stations in Pathum Thani, 66 stations in Ayutthaya, 13 stations in Nakhon Sawan, six in Chai Nat, three in Lop Buri, four in Ang Thong, while Phichit, Samut Prakan, Sing Buri, Saraburi, Uthai Thani, Suphan Buri and Nakhon Pathom each had one station closed. He said the oil reserve was still sufficient hence there was no need to stockpile gasoline. Besides, 86 NGV stations were closed; 19 in Bangkok, 35 im Pathum Thani, 20 in Nonthaburi, five in Samut Prakan, four in Ayuttahya, two in Chon Buri and one in Rayong. (Source: The Nation)


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Airport to remain dry

Posted by hasekamp on 30 October 2011 at 10:51 AM
Suvarnabhumi airport authorities are confident they can handle the flood crisis but a team of Japanese safety experts remains concerned about its power supply sustainability, which is key to flood drainage. Wing Cdr Suk Puangthum, Suvarnabhumi airport's deputy general manager for maintenance, was confident that its 23.5km-long dyke could keep water out of the 32 sq km airport area. The dyke has been increased in height to 3.5m above mean sea level from the previous level of 3m, Wing Cdr Suk said. The canal outside was now only 0.8 metres above sea level. He added there were two reservoirs, each only at 25% of its full capacity of 4 million cubic metres. Japanese Experts told reporters after a two-hour briefing and inspection of Suvarnabhumi airport's pumping stations, reservoirs and power stations that authorities were well prepared, but the flood crisis was not something that could be precisely predicted. They needed more time to study the details, and particularly the blueprint of the airport layout. Asked if they were concerned about the internal power supply, the experts said the airport's strategic flood-prevention system was the dyke, and any water trickling into the airport could be pumped out. "If the electrical control centres malfunction due to water leaking into the system and the pumps cannot get rid of the water fast enough, the power supply might be affected," they said. Amnuay Sarachart, Suvarnabhumi's vice-president in charge of the electrical and mechanical department, said the airport has been given the same priority as Siriraj Hospital, where His Majesty the King is staying. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flooding update

Posted by hasekamp on 30 October 2011 at 10:46 AM
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra believes the overall flood situation in Bangkok will improve in the next few days although floodwaters have begun to spread to fresh areas in the capital. The prime minister yesterday said the volume of run-off spreading from the north of Bangkok to the capital's inner areas is less than expected, although the overall water mass is still substantial. She said the Flood Relief Operations Centre (Froc) and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration are working together to drain floodwaters into Khlong Thawi Wattana and Khlong Saen Saep. She said a close watch is being kept on sea tides over the next few days and authorities would speed up the drainage of water to the sea. "The situation should improve after Monday," she said. The situation will carry on for about four weeks before stabilising. Meanwhile, floods are still hitting Bangkok in the north, the west and the east. Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday said floods are threatening Wang Thong Lang, Lat Phrao and Chatuchak districts, which have been placed under special watch. Khlong Lat Phrao has now overflowed and inundated canalside communities in Wang Hin and Saphan Lek in Lat Phrao. The water in those areas is between five to 10cm high. On Phahon Yothin Road, overflow from Don Muang reached Wat Phra Sri Mahathat in Bang Khen. There are now 10,794 evacuees at 84 shelters in 22 districts of the capital. Officials have identified 225 gathering points in the event Bangkok residents will have to leave the capital. Floodwaters have continued to rise in Thon Buri. Residents are evacuating from Thawi Watthana district. Heavy floods are also forcing City Hall to prepare to evacuate residents from some areas of Taling Chan district after overflow from Khlong Maha Sawat inundated part of the Suan Pak area. City Hall has also called for evacuations in Bang Phlad, which is mostly flooded. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority announced yesterday it would reduce tap water production in Thon Buri area to 600,000 cubic metres per day from 900,000 cubic metres due to heavy floods which affected the quality of raw water. The authority will supply tap water twice a day, at 6am-9am and 5pm-8pm. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bangkok situation still worsening

Posted by hasekamp on 27 October 2011 at 11:41 AM
As of Thursday morning, the floodwater was continuing to rise in northern and western Bangkok. On Vibhavadi-Rangsit Highway, the inundation had spread to Wat Lak Si, located about 200 metres from the Don Muang Tollway ramp. The water level was about 50 centimetres high. On Phaholyothin Road, the floodwater from Future Park Rangsit shopping mall to Don Mueang Airport also continued to rise, shutting down traffic. The overflowing water had also started to inundate Bhumibol Hospital. A section of earth dyke at Don Mueang Airport collapsed, prompting emergency pumping in order to safeguard the headquarters of Flood Relief Operations Centre. In Thon Buri, workers were unable to complete the repairs of dykes at two major canals, Masawat and Thawi Wattana, due to the strong water flow. The inundation at Wat Puranawas rose to 2.4 metres, prompting the emergency evacuation of monks and flood victims residing at the shelter inside the temple. (Source: The Nation)


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Death toll now 373

Posted by hasekamp on 27 October 2011 at 11:37 AM
Flood-related death toll has risen to 373 while two others were still missing, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department announced Thursday. Wibul Sanguanpong, director-general of the department, said 26 provinces were still affected by floods. Wibul said 2.14 million people from 730,348 families in 8,377 villages have been affected. (Source: The Nation)


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US citizens: look at Twitter

Posted by hasekamp on 27 October 2011 at 11:35 AM
American citizens in Thailand, can follow up-to-date flood information from the US Embassy at twitter.com/#!/ACSBKK


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Bangkok evacuates

Posted by hasekamp on 27 October 2011 at 11:31 AM
Bangkok residents fleeing the floods are fast filling up budget hotels in the resort towns of Hua Hin and Pattaya. As the flood threat mounts, some families already sent their children and elderly members out of the city, said Risinee Sarikaputra, associate director for research and valuation with the property agency Knight Frank Thailand. Cha-am and Hua Hin are popular as more city residents have second homes in these resorts than Pattaya. While hotels in resort destinations are almost full, few expect a revenue windfall as most are slashing prices to help those affected by floods, and the spending power of Thais is lower than that of foreigners, said Ms Risinee. The occupancy rates of luxury hotels have been stable but some have seen falling demand since international visitors have been cancelling bookings. Hotels with the highest occupancy rates are economy and budget properties charging 1,500 to 2,500 baht per night. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flood holidays

Posted by hasekamp on 26 October 2011 at 10:38 AM
The cabinet on Tuesday declared Oct 27-28 and Monday Oct 31 an official holiday in 21 flood-hit provinces, including Bangkok, to allow officials not involved in flood mitigation to stay home or travel out of Bangkok to other provinces. The 21 provinces are Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Sing Buri, Chachoengsao, Ang Thong, Nakhon Sawan, Chai Nat, Uthai Thani, Sukhothai, Phichit, Kamphaeng Phet, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Suphan Buri, Samut Prakan and Tak. Oct 29-30, Saturday and Sunday, are normal weekend days off for state officials. Bangkok faces high sea tides from Oct 27-31, making it more difficult for the floodwater to flow out to sea during this period. Bank of Thailand governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said the central bank will consult with Thai and foreign commercial banks this evening before deciding whether to also close financial institutions in those areas. He said a bank closure could affect international trade. Local bank branches hit by flooding have been closed, but the overall banking system is still operating as usual, Mr Prasarn said. Today's water level in the Chao Phraya was expected to reach 2.35m, he said. "BMA officials have worked hard around the clock, watching the embankments on both sides of the river," the governor said. Now that the government has enforced provisions under the disaster law the Flood Relief Operations Centre (Froc) has authorised the Irrigation Department to fully control all the water gates with back-up from the armed forces. it is too late to shut Khlong 1 water gate as the water has now overwhelmed Khlong 1. The Department can now operate other gates without fear of opposition from residents. All the water pumps are fully employed draining the excess water to various lower canals and eventually to the sea at Khlong Dan, Samut Prakan. It was true that about 4,000 million cubic metres of water has invaded Bangkok North. It will take the whole month for this mass of water to be completely drained off to the sea via the Chao Phraya River (which can drain about 300 million cubic metres a day) and to the east and west of Bangkok from various diversion measures being implemented by the department and the BMA. Another encouraging thought is that not all 4,000 million cubic metres will be drained off. Only 60-70% needs to be drained off while the rest can be left in low-lying areas to gradually dry up naturally.
If all is done according to plan, Bangkok will not see severe flooding, the irrigation official said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Even the palaces ...

Posted by hasekamp on 26 October 2011 at 10:22 AM
His Majesty the King voiced concern from the plight of flood victims and instructed for no special flood control for royal palaces, Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Wednesday. "His Majesty wants no special attention given to guard palaces, saying things should unfold naturally," he said. Prayuth said the Army was in charge of flood control for the Grand Palace. The Royal Household Bureau had not made any special request to safeguard against flooding although the Army mapped out a plan, he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Bangkokians wait till last minute

Posted by hasekamp on 26 October 2011 at 10:19 AM
The word "evacuation" seems applicable to practically everybody, with people no longer waiting for announcements from the government. Over the past week thousands have been displaced, and even though many have been put up at the various flood-relief centres, several people are staying put till the last minute and braving the rising waters. People are making the decision to move out for a number of different reasons. Some leave at the last minute when the floodwaters lap at their doors, but others can't afford to take the chance of leaving their homes. Freelance journalist Kanita In-chukul's riverside home in her hometown of Bang Pa-in, Ayutthaya, was inundated last month. She was staying at her home in Saransiri housing estate in Bang Bua Thong, but that has been menaced by rising flood water for the last two weeks. Her family has had to move out and rent an apartment in Bang Saen in Chon Buri. "I don't know how long we are going to stay here as the situation in Bangkok is unpredictable," she said. Nanthinee Vongpuapan, a freelancer and mother of two, moved her family to Pattaya on Saturday after learning about the unexpected rise in the Chao Phraya River's level. Living near the canal close to Chao Phraya Hospital off Barom Ratchachonnanee Road, she had prepared for the worst, moving all her belongings to the second and third storey and getting a fibreglass boat, but still she did not feel comfortable about staying. "I can't find anywhere to park my car and Central Pinklao parking is full. I don't think I can afford to buy a new car," she said. She accepted an offer from a university friend who owns a condominium in Pattaya. "I wanted to take my dog too, but it was not possible, so she has to stay at a veterinary clinic that charges Bt150 per day," she said. Niphon Popichit, who works in the entertainment industry, spent days helping fortify his housing estate's flood barriers, alternating with sandbagging his own home. Then it came to a point where his nerves could no longer stand it. "Living in a one-storey house, the tension was too much," said the 45-year-old man, who lives off Ram-Indra Road, not far from Fashion Island. Four days ago, he gave his house and belongings the best protection he could, then packed up and moved to Mahachai in Samut Sakhon province with his wife and five-year-old son. "Now a lot of people are telling me even Mahachai is not entirely safe. I just want to punch them." Even in areas deemed less at risk, some are not taking chances. A former Air Force marshal in Lat Phrao Soi 82 has shut up his home and moved his large family upcountry temporarily. "Staying here is too stressful," he told a neighbour. The floodwaters left the Arunruek family with no choice. The family of four members lived in a one-storey home on Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road, opposite the Royal Air Force building, until it was submerged. They have now moved to stay with relatives in Chiang Mai. Water in the housing estate is knee-high. "It is impossible for us to use the toilet; we have got to move." In every business, colleagues have stories of being forced to evacuate. At The Nation, editorial secretary Siriporn Thongrawd who lives in the risk area of Bussarin Khlong Wa district, has moved into a room at the Evergreen condominium near the Bang Na office for a week. The condo is now fully occupied as people have booked flats to escape the floods. (Source: The Nation)


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PM: Bangkok will flood anyway

Posted by hasekamp on 26 October 2011 at 10:13 AM
Bangkok may be submerged from 10 centimeters to 1.5 meters although the government is determined to minimise the inundation and duration, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said. Yingluck made a candid assessment on flood control in a televised speech Tuesday's night. "A worst scenario of flood may happen due to one of the three factors - breakdown of embankment, collapse of levee and higher-than-expected overflow," she said. She said run-off from the North has moved to the Central Region. Massive water volume in the Central Region is, in turn, passing Bangkok on its way to drain into the sea. It is likely that the water will overwhelm the existing capacity of floodgates and dykes, hence it is highly possible for water to overflow into inner, middle and outer Bangkok. The prime minister said high risk areas for flood included those near Chao Phraya River embankment, those close to dykes and those outside the flood walls. She said the inundation, if happens, would hinge on two factors - water management and geographic terrain of each locality. In western Bangkok, the government has mobilised all resources to control the water from Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi attacking Bang Kruai and Bang Phlat in Thon Buri. Water would be drained via Masawat Canal linking two rivers, Chao Phraya and Tha Cheen. Inundation in Thon Buri is estimated to be around 50 centimeters. In northern Bangkok, the sluice gate on Prem Prachakorn Canal has been opened to lessen the water flow and inundation in Don Mueang, Lak Si, Sai Mai, Bang Sue, Bang Khen, National Memorial. In eastern Bangkok, Min Buri, Nong Chok and Lat Phrao will see water diverted via three main canals, Rapheephat, lower Hok Wa and Saen Sap, to drain into the sea. As the eastern parts are located on the water route, the inundation may rise to one or one and a half meters. The government will try to divert water from Rangsit Canal to lower Hok Wa Canal in order to minimise the water volume reaching inner Bangkok areas. In regard to the shelter at Don Mueang, flood victims will be relocated to other shelters located in Bangkok and upcountry. The storage of relief supplies will be moved from Don Mueang to Chan Yingyong Building at the National Stadium. (Source: The Nation)


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Millions hit now

Posted by hasekamp on 23 October 2011 at 10:39 AM
The ongoing flood disaster has ravaged 175 districts as of now in 28 provinces, affecting 2.45 million people, and the death toll stood at 356 deaths with two persons missing, the National Flood Relief Centre at Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport reported yesterday. Seventy-seven rural highways in 15 provinces were damaged while 18 Northern Route train services were suspended. Northeastern Route trains bound for Bangkok continued to use the Bangkok-Makkasan-Chachoengsao route without going through Samsen, Bang Sue or Don Muang stations, they said. The Royal Thai Navy reported that there would be high tides 2.30-2.35 metres above mean sea level from October 27-31. (Source: The Nation)


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Many have flood related diseases

Posted by hasekamp on 23 October 2011 at 10:37 AM
Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said Saturday that so far 720,128 have been treated with flood-related diseases. Most of them received treatment from mobile medical units of the Public Health Ministry. Witthaya said his ministry deployed over 200 mobile units to treat flood victims. He said most of people suffered from athlete\92s foot and 97520 of them suffered from tension. Witthaya said 5,882 of them suffered from depression and 807 became suicidal. (Source: The Nation)


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Seven districts of BKK flooded

Posted by hasekamp on 23 October 2011 at 10:31 AM
At least seven districts of Bangkok were partially submerged up to 30 centimeters or more early Sunday. Authorities said flooding in the capital could last several weeks. Some roads in the northern Don Muang district were waterways with small boats nearly as common as motor vehicles. Water was as high as a car tyre. The domestic airport was still operational. A few kilometers southwest in the direction of the city centre heavy equipment was being used to reinforce barriers to a canal that intersected the major Chang Wattana Road. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra warned people on Saturday that parts of Bangkok would flood and residents should expect the water to stay four to six weeks. Expressways would remain open and the government would protect the city\92s drinking water system, power plants and important buildings, she said. Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said water had risen more than 2 metres along the Chao Phraya River that flows through the densely populated heart of Bangkok. He warned residents to brace for flooding. (Source: The Nation)


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Northern Bangkok is flooded now

Posted by hasekamp on 23 October 2011 at 10:25 AM
Flooding broke out across northern Bangkok yesterday as floodwaters from Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani stressed canals and flood barriers across the city. Experts warned that worse is to come, as water from the Central Plains puts increasing pressure on the city's outer flood barriers and inner city canals, potentially leading to flooding across many major districts in the city. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra urged city residents to move their possessions and cars to higher ground, and cautioned that flooding could take as long as six weeks to subside within the capital. About 113,000 people have been relocated to rescue shelters due to the floods. Authorities say 1,743 evacuation centres are open and able to accomodate over 800,000 people. The situation could reach a crisis point from Friday to Sunday when tides in the Gulf of Thailand are scheduled to peak, which will slow the outflow of water from the capital to the sea. Bangkok has been mostly spared from the floods to date. But this is sure to change as authorities announced last week plans to open sluice gates in the city, which could lead to widespread flooding in the capital but would also allow the massive pools of water to the north in Ayutthaya and central Thailand to drain faster into the Gulf of Thailand. Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said while water levels in the Chao Phraya have risen and flooding is reported in many areas, the situation was still controllable. Officials were working to shore up flood barriers along Khlong Rangsit in Pathum Thani, but warned that flooding could reach Don Muang, including the government's Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) at Don Mueang airport. Residents outside of the main city flood wall should leave immediately to evacuation centres, as water levels will continue to rise. Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) officials are monitoring several key areas: Khlong Hok Wa in Sai Mai district in eastern Bangkok, areas near Khlong Mahasawat in Thon Buri and the north along Khlong Rangsit adjacent to Pathum Thani. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Disaster warning issued

Posted by hasekamp on 21 October 2011 at 16:01 PM
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday issued the disaster warning for Bangkok, consolidating power for flood control and drainage. Yingluck invoked the 2007 Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Act to oversee flood control in lieu of declaring the state of emergency. Under her instruction, the topmost priority for flood control is to speed up the drainage of run-off into the sea via East Bangkok. (Source: The Nation)


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Alternate routes

Posted by hasekamp on 21 October 2011 at 15:50 PM
Alternate routes are advised for holiday-makers heading out of Bangkok to substitute flooded roads, Highways Police commander Norrabun Naenna suggested Friday. Motoristing heading North may use routes passing Nakhon Pathom, Ang Thong and Suphan Buri, or Route 11 through Prachin Buri. For northeast-bound motorists, they may head to Rangsit and take right turn into Ban Na district in Nakhon Nayok, then to Saraburi, or drive through Chachoengsao to Prachin Buri, then Pak Thong Chai district in Nakhon Ratchasima. Key roads heading to the East and the South are not flooded. For more details please call 1193, Highways Police\92s hotline. (Source: The Nation)


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Flood walls built by inmates

Posted by hasekamp on 20 October 2011 at 19:32 PM
Hundreds of convicts have been sent to help weary state workers and soldiers build more flood walls to protect Bangkok, a senior Corrections Department official said Thursday. About 500 convicts from prisons in Bangkok and the neighbouring provinces were recruited for the job of strengthening the city's temporary flood walls, according to the department's deputy directorgeneral, Thanis Sriyaphan. Thanis said that he Friday would accompany some 300 convicts to help build flood-prevention walls around the Suvarnabhumi International Airport, as there was a shortage of manpower for the job. (Source: The Nation)


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And now Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 20 October 2011 at 19:28 PM
City Hall has advised residents of over 200 households outside Bangkok's floodwalls along Khlong Hok Wa canal in Sai Mai district to evacuate to two temporary shelters on Wednesday. Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra issued his second warning on Wednesday. He advised residents of those areas move to two shelters, at Sai Mai and Rittiyawannalai schools in Sai Mai district. The two shelters could accommodate 2,000 people. The water in Khlong Rapheepat in neighbouring Pathum Thani province reached a critical level after another section of a dyke, about 200 metres, built along the canal was breached today, allowing the floodwater to pour into the area. This morning, MR Sukhumbhand warned via his Twitter website that seven districts of Bangkok are at risk of flooding and people in the areas should move their belongings to higher places. The districts are Lat Krabang, Nong Chok, Minburi, Klong Samwa, Kannayao, Sai Mai and Bangkhen. MR Sukhumbhand said the floodwater was heading down to these areas through the broken dyke at Khlong Rapipat. The water level could be higher than the floodwalls built by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and may inundate the districts. He stressed that this warning was not a signal for an immediate evacuation as the water level would rise slowly and local residents would have about 24 hours for preparations. The governor said the BMA would provide information about flood risk areas every three hours. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Nonthaburi completely inundated

Posted by hasekamp on 20 October 2011 at 19:23 PM
Nonthaburi governor Wichian Phuttiwinyu said the situation has reached a critical level and urged flood-hit residents who need assistance to contact officials on the 1131 hotline. In Bang Bua Thong district, runoff punched through water gates at Khlong Ta Chom and Khlong Rongkrajom in tambon Pimonrat, causing floodwater to surge into several housing estates. In some areas, the flood water was up to chest level, inundating the ground floors. The flood victims were evacuated to safety by boats. Some were transported by garbage trucks. As the earthen flood walls reinforced by sandbags were breached, residents drove off to Wat Lat Pladuk Road to park their vehicles in a line which stretched for several kilometres. Tambon Bang Khurad was prompted to issue a flood warning as the flood wall at Khlong Toh Rong Mai was being reinforced. A road passing tambon Pimonrat and tambon Bang Khurad is the only way to reach the main road to Bangkok. If it is flooded, a large number of people will be trapped. In tambon Bang Bua Thong, all except four villages are under flood water and cannot be reached by cars. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Some Bangkok districts at risk

Posted by hasekamp on 19 October 2011 at 11:53 AM
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra Wednesday warned residents of seven districts to prepare themselves for possible flooding and monitor announcements by the city administration. Sukhumbhand said Sai Mai, Bang Khen, Klong Samwa, Nong Chok, Min Buri and Lat Krabang could be flooded after the Klong Song, Klong Si, Klong Ha and Klong Hok sluice gates were opened to let upstream water into the Rangsit Canal. Sukhumbhand said Rangsit Canal could hold only 400 million cubic metres of water but the four subcanals in Pathum Thani were expected to dump 1.2 billion cubic metres of water into Rangsit Canal. "So, we need to tell the people to get prepared," Sukhumbhand said. He said the city administration has also drafted a evacuation plan, which could be enforced immediately if needed. The governor admitted that it was difficult to predict the situation for the seven districts but the special flood alleviation centre of the city administration would evaluate the situation. (Source: The Nation)


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Floating toilets

Posted by hasekamp on 18 October 2011 at 17:48 PM
HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has graciously granted personal funds to the Labour Ministry to provide floating toilets for those affected by the floods, the ministry's permanent secretary Somkiat Chayasriwong said Tuesday. He said he had told the Skill Development Department to immediately start working on this project, which would be operated out of the Nonthaburi Skill Development Centre, and supported by skill development offices and vocational students from Chitralada School. It is estimated that the project will produce 50 floating toilets per week, he added. (Source: The Nation)


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Phutthamonthon to be evacuated

Posted by hasekamp on 18 October 2011 at 17:44 PM
Residents in Phutthamonthon district of Nakhon Pathom Tuesday afternoon were told to prepare for evacuation within 24 hours as chief Prinya Pothisat said the water level was likely to hike by one more metre. The villagers were told to move their belongings to high place and build water barriers. Otherwise, they can go to the seven prepared shelters that can accept up to 3,000 evacuees. (Source: The Nation)


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Food for the elephants

Posted by hasekamp on 17 October 2011 at 16:41 PM
BP Foods Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Charoen Pokphand Group which is the sole producer of elephant food, today visited an elephant park in Ayutthaya which has been stranded by the floods. It donated 10 tonnes of food for over 100 elephants in the park, believed to last for 1 month. (Source: The Nation)


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Another industrial site inundated

Posted by hasekamp on 17 October 2011 at 16:38 PM
Workers and other people living in Nava Nakorn Industrial Park were ordered to evacuate immediately on Monday, and all operations to shut down, after efforts to prevent the floodwater pouring into the important factory centre failed. Nava Nakorn Plc managing director Nipit Arunvongse na Ayudhya announced that floodwater was flowing into the industrial estate in Pathum Thani's Khlong Luang district through an opening between five and eight metres wide in a north dyke. The water was being directed into a waste treatment pond, Mr Nipit said. The government's Flood Relief Operations Centre (FROC) ordered all factories in Nava Nakorn to stop all machinery and that all workers should go immediately to four evacuation centres. They were told the evacuation centre at Thammasat University's Rangsit campus could take up to 3,000 people and the one at Wat Dhammakaya could hold 5,000. The third centre in Pathum Thani's Thanyaburi district could take up to 20,000 people. The fourth is the government offices complex at Chaeng Wattana, which could accommodate about 1,000 people. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bangkok safe, but ...

Posted by hasekamp on 15 October 2011 at 18:54 PM
Floods have already hit 627 communities in Bangkok, with floodwater as deep as 70 centimetres at some spots. These flood-hit areas spread across 20 out of 50 Bangkok's districts. The worst-hit spots are in Klong Sam Wa district, which is located in the eastern zone. Floodwater level ranges between 30 and 70 centimetres there. (Source: The Nation)


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108 bank branches closed

Posted by hasekamp on 15 October 2011 at 18:52 PM
A number of 108 bank branches temporarily suspended services as of today, with 56 in Ayutthaya provinces. According to the Bank of Thailand, also closing their doors are 31 branches in Nakhon Sawan, 15 in Pathum Thani, 2 in Singburi and 1 each in Chainat, Nonthaburi, Lop Buri and Bangkok (Krung Thai Bank's Lat Krabang Branch). (Source: The Nation)


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Industrial estate inundated

Posted by hasekamp on 15 October 2011 at 18:50 PM
Powerful floodwater from the Chao Phraya River has burst into the Hi-Tech Industrial Estate in Bang Pa-in district of Ayutthaya province after efforts to strengthen its dyke failed. Ayutthaya industrial chief Prayoon Tingthong said workers had plugged leaks in the dyke on Wednesday but a section of the wall finally collapsed yesterday under the pressure of an ocean of floodwater flowing around the estate, mostly from the Asian Highway. Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong burst into tears and gave a consoling hug to a Japanese investor whose factory is in the industrial estate as the attempt to fend off the deluge failed. (According to European newspapers factories of Honda and Toyota are also under water and closed). (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flooding under control?

Posted by hasekamp on 15 October 2011 at 18:46 PM
The floods threatening Bangkok are now under control and water levels are starting to fall, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Friday. Ms Yingluck said that important economic locations had to be protected but her government would not forget ordinary flood victims. She sought cooperation from the people who protested against the closure of a water gate on the Rangsit Khlong 1 canal in Pathum Thani province, saying the government had to complete floodwalls to contain the damage. After inspecting flood prevention in tambon Lak Hok in Pathum Thani, Ms Yingluck said floodwalls there were important because it would affect the amount of water in Khlong Prem Prachakorn and Khlong Prapa in Bangkok. Justice Minister and FROC director Pracha Promnok said the floodwater was 50 centimetres below the top of the dykes in Lak Hok area. He had ordered them increased in height by 50 centimetres. Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said flood prevention measures in Lak Hok were strong. He explained that there were two lines of floodwalls there -- one line of sandbags and a soil dyke. It had been made as strong as possible, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flood damages rice harvest

Posted by hasekamp on 15 October 2011 at 18:41 PM
Floods have already damaged about 700,000 tonnes of paddy but the final tally could be 6-7 million tonnes, says the Commerce Ministry. However, the impact on exports of Thai rice this year is expected to be limited and the country will still be able to export 11 million tonnes of rice, said Yanyong Phuangrach, the ministry's permanent secretary. The Agriculture Ministry reported total damage of 10 million rai of cultivated areas, of which 8 million are paddy, meaning rice production could be cut by 6-7 million tonnes. Prior to the floods, Thailand expected main-crop paddy production of 25 million tonnes to enter the government's paddy mortgage scheme. Phitsanulok, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit and Suphan Buri are among the affected provinces. Though some have speculated that Thai rice exports would be affected, Mr Yanyong is still optimistic the country can export 11 million tonnes this year. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Tourists do not stay away

Posted by hasekamp on 11 October 2011 at 11:03 AM
A short "breaking news" item:
Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silapa-archa said Tuesday that despite the floods, Suvarnabhumi Airport saw 40,000 tourist arrivals per day. The government has expected to achieve the target of 19 million visitors this year, he said. (Source: The Nation)


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Travel warnings

Posted by hasekamp on 11 October 2011 at 11:01 AM
As 21 countries had issued travel warnings to their people about visiting Thailand due to the flood situation, Minister of Foreign Affairs Surapong Towijakchaikul has instructed Thai embassies at these 21 countries to ensure the public were accurately informed about the situation, ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdi said Tuesday. The 21 countries included the United States, Mexico Spain and Japan, the latter of which warned Japanese people to avoid visiting Thailand especially Ayutthaya, an informed source said. (Source: The Nation)


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Crocodiles escaped

Posted by hasekamp on 11 October 2011 at 10:51 AM
With about 100 crocodiles escaping from a flooded farm in Uthai Thani province, the Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department has sought to calm fears that the animals may attack people. It says crocodiles raised in captivity have no instinct to attack humans. Thirapat Prayoonsit, the department's deputy chief, said most of the escaped crocodiles are young and less than a metre long. They prefer to live in still water and avoid strong currents. However, to calm fears, the department will cooperate fully with the Fishery Department in efforts to catch the crocodiles. The crocodiles escaped on Sunday when Crocodile Farm Uthai Thani was inundated with floodwater. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bangkok possibly partly evacuated

Posted by hasekamp on 9 October 2011 at 22:37 PM
A plan to evacuate people from 13 districts and eastern zones of Bangkok located outside flood barriers has been prepared by city officials, who warned yesterday that some parts of the city will be submerged by overflows from the Chao Phraya. Eastern parts of Bangkok likely to be flooded are Min Buri, Nong Chok, Lat Krabang and Klong Sam Wa. The 13 districts at risk are Bang Sue, Dusit, Phra Nakhon, Samphan Thawong, Bang Kholaem, Yannawa, Klong Toei, Bang Plat, Bangkok Noi, Thon Buri, Klong San, Rat Burana and Thawee Wattana. Some nine canals in the capital would also be flooded, the National Disaster Warning Centre also warned. The centre reported that the level of water in Bangkok was rising drastically, especially in Klong Bang Phrom, Klong Bang Wak, Klong Prem Prachakorn, Klong Lat Phrao, Pak Klong Talad, Klong Bang Sue, and Klong Maha Sawas. Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said yesterday that torrential rain had caused flooding in 17 areas across Bangkok. Ratchadaphisek Road was the hardest hit area.
Following yesterday's Bangkok Metropolitan Administration meeting on evacuation, Sukhumbhand announced that he had prepared evacuation plans for various areas because the situation might worsen during October 16-18 when high tides could combine with northern runoffs. (Source: The Nation)


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Only by boat to Ayutthaya

Posted by hasekamp on 9 October 2011 at 22:33 PM
Heavily inundated Ayutthaya appeared all but unreachable by land last night as water levels there made roads impassable even to military trucks - the only vehicles that had still been able to make it through. Flooding was expected to peak last night, preventing troop transport trucks from using Route 32 - the main road linking Ayutthaya with neighbouring provinces and Bangkok - which has long been closed to smaller vehicles. Authorities were considering transporting relief supplies and people to and from Ayutthaya by boat. People travelling from Bangkok to Chai Nat via Ayutthaya are advised to use Route 340 through Suphan Buri, which is now the only route still open. (Source: The Nation)


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His Majesty advises

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2011 at 14:12 PM
His Majesty the King wants celebrations for his upcoming birthday to be kept simple, as his subjects are suffering from severe flooding, HRH Princess Chulabhorn Valayalaksana said yesterday. His Majesty will turn 84 on December 5. "He is concerned about the situation and is always providing advice to relevant authorities on how to solve the flooding," the princess said. She added that his advanced age and illness stopped the much-beloved monarch from visiting his suffering subjects. (Source: The Nation)


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Ayutthaya flooded

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2011 at 14:10 PM
Flood misery worsened in Ayutthaya yesterday as more water surged through damaged flood walls, forcing the closure of the country's vital highway to the North and the evacuation of the provincial prison. Hundreds of vehicles including passenger buses, cargo trucks and private cars were trapped in a 10-kilometre traffic snarl-up after flood waters flowed over a section of the Asian Highway in the province. The higher water level has also made several areas in the province a sea of swirling water, inaccessible by state authorities who were struggling yesterday to keep the inner area of the town dry. Ayutthaya governor Witthaya Piewpong said a huge volume of water from the Lop Buri, Pasak and Chao Phraya rivers will raise the water level in the province by at least another 50cm during the next three to seven days. Local officials were ordered yesterday to double the height of flood walls around the centre of Ayutthaya to one metre. Town residents were warned, however, they should move their belongings to higher ground and be ready to evacuate. Mr Witthaya said more than 60 per cent of the town's flood wall has been damaged by the flood currents and efforts were under way yesterday to repair the embankment. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Bangkok flooding imminent

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2011 at 13:51 PM
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra last night told people in parts of Bangkok and elsewhere in the Central Plains to brace for severe flooding, as she admitted her government was almost at its wits' end dealing with the disaster. Already the whole of nearby Ayutthaya province has been declared a disaster area as the deluge continues to bear down on the capital, having started in the North of the country and affecting 30 provinces so far. In a televised address last night, Ms Yingluck spoke of the grim situation facing Bangkok and its neighbours. She said despite concerted efforts by government agencies, she feared authorities would not be able to fully contain the incoming flood waters. "The widespread flood problem is reaching crisis level, the worst in decades," said the premier. She said the volume of water had exceeded estimates and the storage capacity of reservoirs and torrents have damaged a number of flood gates. The government's priority is to speed up the diversion of flood water into the sea before the deluge - about 7,000 million cubic metres - flows down to the Central Plains from the upper North via Sukhothai, Kamphaeng Phet, Phitsanulok and Nakhon Sawan soon. "If we cannot divert the flood water into the sea, it will cause extensive damage to the provinces in its path," said the prime minister. She also voiced concerns about the Meteorological Department's forecast of low-pressure systems, saying the reservoirs were unlikely to be able to absorb more rain. She said the Chao Phraya Dam, which can release water at a rate of 3,570 cu m of water per second, must bring its work up to speed to ease the impacts on downstream provinces such as Ang Thong, Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Lop Buri and Ayutthaya. Ms Yingluck said flood diversion efforts would become more difficult at peak tide between Oct 15 and 17, when the flow is expected to reach Bangkok. Fifty-nine provinces across the country have so far been damaged in some way by the floods, with 30 being badly hit and 252 people being killed. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Water Lowering Ceremony

Posted by hasekamp on 8 October 2011 at 13:47 PM
The Bangkok Metropolitan Authority organizes a ceremony to protect the city from flooding. This is the official invitation (translated into English):
Office : Bangkok (Office of Permanent Secretary of Bangkok Metropolitan Authority Tel. 0 2224 8652 or Tel. 1280 Fax. 0221 6170)
No.: Kor Thor 0403/1093 Date: 7th of October 2011
Subject: Invitation to the Brahman water-lowering ceremony
To Directors and Departmental Heads of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has arranged a Brahman water-lowering ceremony on Saturday the 8th of October 2011 at 14.39 at the Bangkok City Pillar Shrine to beg to Kang Ka, the River Goddess, to lower the flood in Bangkok rapidly.
Therefore, we invite you to attend this ceremony with the agenda as follows:
14.39 hrs. Worship Ceremony (Barhma Ceremony)
15.09 hrs Chanting Ceremony
Meet at 14.00 hrs at the Bangkok City Pillar Shrine Dress Thai dress or polite dress (Source: Bangkok Pundit weblog)


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Ayutthaya is disaster area

Posted by hasekamp on 3 October 2011 at 19:06 PM
With the flood situation on the Central Plain continuing to worsen, authorities have set evacuation plans for residents in Ayutthaya and Phichit provinces, and all 16 districts of Ayutthaya have been declared disaster zones. Several riverside communities were under more than two metres of water yesterday as the Lop Buri River surged. Many roads were rendered impassable and some temples and hospitals were evacuated. Ayutthaya governor Witthaya Piewpong called an urgent meeting of the 16 district chiefs to find ways to deal with yet more run-off which is set to flow into the province from the North. Municipalities, local bodies, kamnan and village heads have been told to find safe locations where residents can be evacuated to immediately. Flooding started in Ayutthaya on Sept 4 and has affected more than 224,000 residents. Run-off from the North is raising levels of the Chao Phraya, Pasak, Lop Buri and Noi rivers. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Yingluck stops her Tweets

Posted by hasekamp on 3 October 2011 at 19:03 PM
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has decided to take a break from Twitter after her account was taken over by a hacker who mocked and criticised her. Authorities said they were searching for the anonymous hacker who posted eight tweets on Sunday morning after apparently using a smartphone to access the premier's @PouYingluck account. Ms Yingluck said the attack was a "violation of people's personal rights" and the account was "temporarily suspended". (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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