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Will Ayutthaya survive?

Posted by hasekamp on 27 November 2011 at 10:20 AM
Ayutthaya's historical sites have withstood centuries of flooding, but the latest deluge may have delivered a fatal blow to some of the ancient capital's World Heritage-protected sites. Damage to the buildings was compounded by the floodwater both surrounding the sites too quickly, and then being released too rapidly. Fine Arts Department civil engineer Therdsak Yenjura says the structures have brick bases resting on soil without proper foundations. When the soil is soaked, the walls of the structures subside and lean in on each other. Uneven weight distribution of the structures increases pressure points. Subsidence and weakening of the structures can be eased if the floodwater surrounding a historical structure is let out slowly, but this year over-eager local officials pumped the water out too quickly. "If we change the conditions too quickly, it is hard for the sites to adjust and then they can suffer 'shock' from the changing conditions," said Mr Therdsak. Archaeologists need to conduct further inspections to determine how many of about 130 flooded ancient sites in Ayutthaya have been seriously affected. As a precautionary measure, authorities have decided not to quickly drain two-metre-deep floodwater surrounding Wat Chaiwattanaram, a major tourist attraction, for fear it could cause further damage. At Phra Sri Sanphet temple, a stupa on the western side has had its brick foundations broken, as if pushed out by pressure from within. The stupa is now leaning forward and was only noticed by a group of experts from Unesco and the Fine Arts Department on a recent inspection to determine the extent of damage to the historical sites. "The stupa has demonstrated this symptom, which has not yet been given serious attention yet," said associate professor Warakorn Mairaing from the Engineering Institute of Thailand, who advises the bodies. Ayutthaya city, which gained World Heritage status in 1991, has undergone major development to cope with population growth and tourism demands, and it has a well-planned drainage system that has served it well in past floods. But those protecting the status of the area now agree that a new plan may be needed to protect Ayutthaya better from future flooding. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Birthday celebration invitation

Posted by hasekamp on 27 November 2011 at 10:15 AM
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday invited all Thais to join the grand celebration of the auspicious occasion of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 84th birthday on December 5. During her weekly programme, Yingluck said she had presented a bouquet to His Majesty the King through the royal representative at Siriraj Hospital. She said she had learned that His Majesty’#39;s health is gradually improving. On his birthday, His Majesty the King would grant a public audience at the Chakri Throne Hall in the Grand Palace at 10.30am. The royal guards from the Royal Thai Armed Forces would take an oath of loyalty on the same day, she said. Meanwhile, light-and-sound shows and exhibitions would be held from Saturday to December 9, Yingluck said. Candle-lit ceremonies will take place nationwide on December 5. The premier said that as part of King Bhumibol's birthday celebration, Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck had allowed Thailand to borrow a Buddha relic from Bhutan so that Thai people could pay homage. (Source: The Nation)


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Frost in the North

Posted by hasekamp on 27 November 2011 at 10:12 AM
Northern Thailand saw mercury drop one to two Celsius degree further yesterday, while frosts may appear at some mountain peaks. Tourists are expected to go for the cold winter with expected spending of over Bt1 billion in Thailand during the end of this year. Pensiri Trisat, a weather forecaster at the Northern Meteological Centre, said that the high pressure from China continued to spread over Thailand and could bring down the temperature in the North by 12 Celcius degree. High moutains in the North could see frosts during November 26-28. The lowest temperature in the upper North is expected to be in a range of 16-18 Celcius degree. The mountain peaks could be cold and intensely cold with the lowest temperature of 6-12 Celsius degree. The lowest temperature was 6.9 Celcius degree at the Inthanon Mountain’#39;s peak in Chiang Mai province for Saturday’#39;s morning. (Source: The Nation)


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Flood victims have had enough

Posted by hasekamp on 27 November 2011 at 10:09 AM
Hundreds of flood-devastated residents in Pathum Thani yesterday clashed with motorists during the Din Daeng-Don Muang tollway blockade to pressure the government to accelerate assistance and the drainage of deep floodwater. The residents from several flooded communities in Rangsit and Lam Luk Ka areas, led by former election candidate Kiattisak Songsaeng, set up a blockade on the entrance of the inbound tollway in front of Zeer Rangsit department store at about noon. The residents demanded the government's Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) accelerate drainage of floodwaters which had affected their livelihoods for a month. The road closure caused heavy congestion, prompting motorists to negotiate with the protesters. However, the talks failed and both sides clashed at about 2pm before police from Vibhavadi station and Pathum Thani intervened. Almost simultaneously, nearly a thousand residents in Bangkok's Sai Mai and Don Muang areas yesterday dismantled a massive sandbag dyke at Don Muang's Directorate of Air Operations Control intersection on Phahon Yothin Road. The villagers, equipped with knives and sharp objects, waited for Froc representatives to negotiate. They had been asking the Froc to widen a drainage gap. However, they decided to remove the barrier after talks with Pol Maj Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapat, commander of Metropolitan Police Division 2, failed. After the flood barrier was removed, large amounts of water rushed towards Saphan Mai area. Deputy city clerk Chumphol Sampaopol yesterday said the removal of the floodwall on Phahon Yothin Road would slow down the drainage resulting in prolonged hardship. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Is it worthwhile to restore Don Muang?

Posted by hasekamp on 27 November 2011 at 10:05 AM
The Yingluck Shinawatra administration will have to decide whether it is worthwhile to spend billions of baht to restore buildings at Bangkok's old airport such as the domestic and cargo terminals as well as repair the western runway. Senior executives of Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) say for this big an investment, a decision will have to be made about whether Don Mueang needs a full-blown, permanent flood prevention system such as the one installed at Suvarnabhumi, Thailand's gateway airport. AoT president Anirut Thanomkulbutra yesterday said undertaking the second phase of Don Mueang's rehabilitation is a policy issue that the government must clearly address. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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King no longer in pain

Posted by hasekamp on 23 November 2011 at 11:13 AM
His Majesty is no longer having pain in his abdomen, and his general condition is good and improving, a Royal Household Bureau statement said yesterday. The King has been told about the ailments of his large intestine, which caused abdominal pain previously, said the 47th statement. His body temperature and respiration have returned to normal, with fluid food intake, and he is undergoing medication intravenously, said the Royal Physicians. (Source: The Nation)


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Photo contest

Posted by hasekamp on 23 November 2011 at 11:08 AM
The Culture Ministry invited interested Thai or foreign professional or amateur photographers to submit their digitalformat photos of flood disaster so that they could be selected to be displayed at the "Nam+Jai 2554" (Water+Empathy 2011) photo exhibition. The exhibition hosted by the ministry, the BACC, the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand under the Royal Patronage of HM the King, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and Ayutthaya province was aimed to record this history incident and reflect people’#39;s empathy and aids to one another in the face of this major crisis. The money earned would be proceeded to the fund for ancient sites’#39; restoration. The ministry also received the photos taken by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to present in this exhibition. The exhibition will be held from December 830 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center’#39;s ninth floor and from December 1115 at the Ayutthaya City Hall’#39;s Tourism Center, as well as being shown at www.bigcamera.co.th/water+empathy2011. For more information, call 0221466308 extension 519,520 or visit www.bacc.or.th. (Source: The Nation)


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Thaksin not on list

Posted by hasekamp on 23 November 2011 at 11:05 AM
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has confirmed Thaksin Shinawatra's name has not been included in the list of convicts eligible to benefit from the government's proposed royal pardon decree this year. Ms Yingluck, sister of ousted ex-premier Thaksin, said the decree is in line with the cabinet resolution and that the government's position is for everything to follow the law and tradition and to be non-discriminatory. When asked about a vow by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung to bring Thaksin back to Thailand, Ms Yingluck admitted that was one of the Pheu Thai Party's campaign pledges. However, she said all cases must proceed according to the law and for the best interests of the country and equality of all people, adding she will not give "special treatment" to anyone. Justice Minister Pracha Promnok said the draft royal pardon decree for over 20,000 convicts on the occasion of His Majesty the King's 84th birthday on Dec 5 would follow convention. The bans on people found guilty of drug offences and corruption and convicts who absconded will remain intact in the decree, he said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Everybody should help

Posted by hasekamp on 19 November 2011 at 11:50 AM
Water expert Chawalit Chantararat, who is also executive director of the TEAM Group, is calling on residents living in nonflooded parts of Bangkok to help dredge waterways and unclog drains in floodravaged areas. TEAM Group is a conglomeration of environmental consultants. According to him, the level of Chao Phraya and Ta Chin rivers is going to drop significantly for four hours daily until Thursday, and that everyone should take advantage of this lowtide period to direct runoffs to these rivers. "In order to do this, we need to dredge canals and remove garbage from clogged drains first," he explained. Chawalit also recommended that relevant officials open canal sluice gates fully during the lowtide period. "In Nonthaburi's Bang Kruay district, water should be directed from Bangkok's Natee Canal to the Bangkok Noi Canal," he said. He said that if the clearing effort worked, the level of Mahasawas Canal should drop and the Borommaratchachonnanee Road should be open to traffic next week. He added that though the flooded areas will not be dried out immediately, they should provide visible results. Chawalit said people should take inspiration from the residents of Samut Sakhon's Ban Phaeo district, who got together to drain flood waters from their area. (Source: The Nation)


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Big Cleaning Day Lat Phrao

Posted by hasekamp on 19 November 2011 at 11:46 AM
About 1,000 troops, policemen, city workers and volunteered joined Bangkok's big cleaning day at the Lat Phrao Intersection Saturday morning. Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra chaired the event at the Lat Phrao Intersection. The event was also joined by Bangkok City Clerk Charoenrat Chutikarn and First Army Area Commander Lt Gen Udomdej Sitabutr. They cleaned up a six-kilometre part of the Phahoyothin Road from Bang Sue Canal to Ratchayothin Intersection. (Source: The Nation)


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Innovative ideas for floods

Posted by hasekamp on 17 November 2011 at 19:18 PM
In a bid to encourage the creation of innovations that can help authorities deal with the flood crisis, the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), in cooperation with PTT, launched a "Mobility in the Time of Floods" competition on October 26. From the 110 proposals submitted, 89 were chosen as winners, though only 59 of the prototypes could be demonstrated at Lumpini Park yesterday. Each innovation had to fulfil three categories: usage under less than a metre of water, creativity of the product, and speediness. Each category had five prizes, with the winner getting Bt100,000, the two runners-up getting Bt50,000 each, the third place getting Bt30,000, and a fifth team getting Bt10,000 for merit. The judges also granted Bt3,000 to each of the 59 teams demonstrating their innovations yesterday. Before demonstration, each team had to show how the prototype was assembled and what its winning features are before it was used in water. Each team had to get enough points in each category to win. Innovations winning in the speed category were projects that helped vehicles move in water and helped locate misplaced items. The winning teams in this category came from King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok, Thammasat University and Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology. Under the category of creativity, King Mongkut's University of Technology in Thon Buri won for the development of the "2-in-1 boat". However, nobody won in the category of gadgets that can be used in less than a metre of water. To be eligible, the innovations were not allowed to use electric or motor power, had to weigh no more than 160 kilograms, could be proved to be applied in a real flooding situation and could be used to transport either people or belongings. Kwan Sritathani from the National Electronics and Technology Centre under the NSTDA said the objective was to encourage people to come up with innovations that can be used during a flood crisis. (Source: The Nation)


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Compensation to be paid on December 20

Posted by hasekamp on 17 November 2011 at 19:15 PM
The Bt 5,000 floodcompensation payments should start reaching 600,000 affected households in 30 Bangkok districts on December 20, Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said yesterday. Officials from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) have prepared places for flood victims to register for and receive the payments, he said. The BMA also plans to give each household an additional Bt1,500 and officials were working on the details, he said.
We wonder what can be done with BT 5000, when all or most of the furniture has to be replaced ... (Source: The Nation)


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Several roads open

Posted by hasekamp on 17 November 2011 at 19:12 PM
The Metropolitan Police's Traffic Command reported yesterday that 14 Bangkok roads were unofficially reopened after flood waters subsided. They were Phaholyothin Road to the Ratchayothin Intersection, VibhavadiRangsit Road to the Lat Phrao Intersection, RamIntra Road from Km 18, Lat Phrao Road, Ratchadaphisek Road to the RatchadaLat Phrao Intersection, Khamphaeng Phet Road, Ngam Wongwan Road from the Bang Khen to the Phong Phetch Intersection, Charan Sanitwong Road from Rama VII Bridge to Charan Sanitwong Soi 34, Somdet Phra Pinklao Road, Arun Amarin Road from Rama VIII Bridge to Arun Amarin Intersection, Rajavithi Road, Borommarajajonani Road to Buddha Monthon 2 Road, Ratchapreuk Road and the elevated highway to Taling Chan Police Station. (Source: The Nation)


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Death toll still rising

Posted by hasekamp on 17 November 2011 at 19:06 PM
The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department yesterday reported the flood toll at 564 deaths and two missing persons. Flood continued to ravage in 142 districts of 20 provinces, affecting 5,305,559 people, the department. (Source: The Nation)


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Royal Pardon decree

Posted by hasekamp on 17 November 2011 at 19:04 PM
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said Thursday that the draft royal pardon decree has been drafted according to the legal framework. Chalerm said the decree was not drafted with an intention to help a particular person. Critics said the criteria for convicts to be eligible for royal pardon on His Majesty's birthday were designed to help former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra escape jail term. Chalerm said if the opposition submits an interpollation to question him about the draft decree, he would be able to explain the issue. (Source: The Nation)


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Dutch offer assistance

Posted by hasekamp on 15 November 2011 at 9:18 AM
The Dutch Ambassador and a team of water management experts from The Netherlands met Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the 10-strong Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management at Government House Monday to discuss possible solutions to Thailand's flood crisis. Committee member Dr Anond Snidwong na Ayudhaya revealed it was initially concluded that a water seminar be hosted early next year and Thai social experts such as Chulalongkorn University (CU) political scientist Surachai Wankaew be invited to join the water resources body. Dutch Ambassador Johannes Andries Boer led a team of water management experts from the Netherlands to talk with Thai officials. (Source: The Nation)


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Kamphaeng Phet Lat Phrao intersection free for traffic

Posted by hasekamp on 15 November 2011 at 9:15 AM
Traffic police Tuesday allowed motorists to resume using road from the Kamphaeng Phet Intersection to Lat Phrao Intersection after levels of floodwater on the road reduced. Traffic also resumed on Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road from Sutthisarn Intersection to Lat Phrao Intersection. Traffic also resumed from the kilometer marker No 2 to 8 on Ram-Indra Road. (Source: The Nation)


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Super waterway proposed

Posted by hasekamp on 15 November 2011 at 9:11 AM
A team of disaster experts from Chulalongkorn University says the construction of an express floodway is needed if certain areas of the country are to avoid future flood disasters. The team, led by Thanawat Jarupongsakul, a lecturer at the faculty of science's Unit for Disaster and Land Information Studies has proposed 11 flood preventive measures to permanently deal with flood disasters. "One of the urgent solutions is a super-express floodway," he said. The floodway will link existing natural canals to drain runoff, starting from the 134km Chai Nat-Pasak canal stretching from Manorom district of Chai Nat to Tha Rua district of Ayutthaya, the 32km Rapeepat canal from Ha Rua district of Ayutthaya to Rangsit of Pathum Thani and the 30km Phra Ong Chaiyanuchit canal from Rangsit to the sea in Samut Prakan. The total length of the super-express floodway would be about 200km. It would hold about 1.6 billion cubic metres of water and drain runoff at a rate of 6,000 cu/m per second. Mr Thanawat said there should be 1km of empty land and two motorways (inbound and outbound) 6m above ground level along both sides of the floodway. He said this would prevent communities or properties next to the floodway from being inundated. He said details such as the width and depth of canals needed to be further investigated. "This idea is much cheaper than digging a new river as a floodway," Mr Thanawat said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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IKEA ready, if you are

Posted by hasekamp on 14 November 2011 at 10:35 AM
Swedish furniture manufacturer IKEA thinks to make big business out of the flooding sorrow in Bangkok. On their website the new Bangna store tells the potential customers to "come when you are ready". Clearly most people in inundated areas need a complete new outfit for their house, and IKEA seems to want to make profit out of these sad circumstances. (Source: http://www.ikea.com/th/en)


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Water down, prices up

Posted by hasekamp on 14 November 2011 at 10:22 AM
Water levels are starting to recede, but just as transportation and other aspects of life improve, Thai consumers are bracing for another misfortune in the aftermath of the flooding - a spike in goods prices. With nearly 100 major roads impassable and seven industrial estates inundated so far, floods have increased the operating costs of many manufacturers. While some, like Nestle and Toshiba, are doing their best to maintain prices, others - particularly those in the automotive and electronics sectors - may have to pass on the burden to consumers.
Suparat Sirisuwannangura, president of the Automotive Industry Club said the cost of auto production would increase dramatically due to the need to import components and parts for assembly in Thailand. Meanwhile, after the water recedes, auto-parts suppliers with plants in flood-hit areas will likely raise their prices. The good news is that vehicle prices will not be raised, as that would only exacerbate the situation.
Apichart Lee-issaranukul, executive vice president of Thai Stanley Electric, the country's largest manufacturer of lighting equipment for vehicles, admitted that third-tier auto-part manufacturers would hike their prices, leading to an increase in the company's production costs. Still, Thai Stanley Electric will not immediately raise its product prices, as that would affect its clients, all of whom are major carmakers. The focus now is to deliver products as soon and in as large a quantity as possible, so that the clients can maintain their production-resumption schedule.
Floods have affected nearly 1,000 plants in seven industrial estates, including a sizeable number of auto-parts makers. This has sent a shockwave through the supply chain similar to that caused by March's earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Honda Automobile (Thailand)'s 240,000-unit assembly plant in Ayutthaya is just one of the plants affected by the shortage of components and parts. Toyota, with three plants in Chachoengsao and Samut Prakan, will resume production on November 21, after suspending operations on October 12, with parts imported from other countries. Though its assembly plant is located in Rayong, Mazda also had to suspend production. The industry is now convinced that Thailand's auto output this year will be lower than 1.7 million units.
The effects of the flooding will also be felt in the electronics market, particularly the personal-computer market, as more than a dozen hard disk drive (HDD) factories have been disrupted. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), this will have a direct impact on worldwide PC shipments through the first half of 2012. In the first half of 2011, Thailand accounted for 40-45 per cent of worldwide HDD production. Nearly half of the Kingdom's production was directly impacted by the flooding as of early November. Though recovery is expected, the HDD supply is likely to remain constrained through the first half of 2012. In the worst-case scenario, total PC shipments could be depressed by more than 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, and HDD prices would rise on tight supply before stabilising in June.
The good news is that prices of consumer goods should not move much. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, chairwoman of Toshiba Thailand, said the company has no policy to increase the prices of its electrical appliances despite an increase in distribution costs of 30-40 per cent. Aside from the higher distribution costs, the company is spending hugely to rehabilitate 10 flooded plants in Pathum Thani. Only one plant in Nonthaburi, which manufactures one-door refrigerators and digital kitchen appliances, remains operational, though most employees have been evacuated, their houses flooded. All 10 plants are expected to resume production by early next year.
Nophadol Siwabutr, corporate affairs director of Nestle Thai, said his company would maintain prices for as long as possible. Nophadol said that besides the plants in Ayutthaya and the Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate, which are flooded and not operational, the company has four other factories in Thailand: in Bangchan, Bangpoo, Chachoengsao and Amata Industrial Estate. Its Bangchan plant is still operating normally, but the firm is monitoring the flood water closely. (Source: The Nation)


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Crimes during flooding

Posted by hasekamp on 14 November 2011 at 10:14 AM
Most flood related complaints lodged with police have involved violent robberies and extortionate prices for boat transport services, according to Pol MajGeneral Piya Uthayo, a spokesman for the Royal Thai Police. The eight areas where the highest prices were being charged for boat services were Soi Sena, Soi Suayai, National Memorial, Ban Mai Canal, Big C Chaeng Wattana, Bang Yai City housing estate, Soi Thait and Soi Piyanon. All of these areas are in Bangkok, Nonthaburi or Pathum Thani. Boat service operators deemed to be in violation of the Prices of Goods and Services Act, BE 2542, for overcharging face sentences of seven years in jail and/or fines of up to Bt140,000, Piya said. The eight areas to have seen the most robbery complaints are the Aksara, Sor Phanurangsi, Saeng Buathong, Hunsa Macharoen, Muang Ake and Monthon Teamwes housing estates, Rangsitland condominium and Suwan Maithai shopping centre in the same provinces. (Source: The Nation)


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Temporarily (still) no Express Boats

Posted by hasekamp on 14 November 2011 at 10:10 AM
Chao Phraya Express boat services, which have been suspended sue to flooding for one month now, were postponed to resume on November 21. (Source: The Nation)


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Flood toll still rises

Posted by hasekamp on 14 November 2011 at 10:08 AM
The flood-related death toll has risen to 562 while two people were still listed as missing, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department announced Monday. The department said 22 provinces are still flooded, affecting 5.1 million people. (Source: The Nation)


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Drinking water for flood victims

Posted by hasekamp on 14 November 2011 at 10:07 AM
The Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) set up 500 water-supplying service points across Bangkok to alleviate the flood-affected people's woes. MWA assistant governor Wikrom Suwanchomphu said MWA could produce and supply tap water to some 10 million people as usual and improve the tap water quality to meet the World Health Organisation's standard. As MWA set up 500 water-supplying points at shelters and MWA office branches - except Bang Bua Thong, Bangkok Noi and Phasee Charoen branches - flood-affected people could bring containers to get the water for use, he said. Some heavy-traffic service points such as The Mall Ngamwongwan would also hand out a five-liter drinking water bag, he added. (Source: The Nation)


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Expensive plans

Posted by hasekamp on 14 November 2011 at 10:03 AM
A new river, new highways, new railways and new towns are among the government's long-term flood prevention measures, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said. He explained the plan to multinational business leaders who expressed concerns that any repeat of the heavy flooding in Thailand will cause huge damage again. He said leaders and executives from multinational firms, including Google, Microsoft, AT&T, Cagill, Boeing and GE, expressed concerns over Thailand's worst flooding for half a century at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) CEO forum in Hawaii. They asked Thai delegates whether heavy floods will happen again in the near future. This year's floods submerged seven industrial estates in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani and still pose a threat to two industrial estates in Bangkok _ Bangchan and Lat Krabang. Mr Kittiratt, who attended the Apec meeting on behalf of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, said he told the business leaders the government would improve the water management system and would not allow such a disaster to occur on such a scale again. The government has planned investment in water resource management, to prevent heavy floods, particularly in densely populated communities and business districts. Initially, the development would include digging a new river to act as a floodway leading from the Central Plains to the sea. A dual track railway or a highway would also be developed along the river. New town development and new city planning are also in the pipeline. And, our not answered question, who is going to pay all this? The Thai taxpayer, who has to buy a complete new home decoration already because of the flooding? (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flooding update November 10

Posted by hasekamp on 10 November 2011 at 11:10 AM
After floodwaters entered Bangkok from the North and the Northeast, inflows were stemmed by building the "big bag wall" (so named for its 2.5 MT sandbags, instead of the usual 50 kg ones) and then rebuilding the impaired sluice gate at Khlong Samwa. Since then, despite maximum pumping efforts, water levels in the initially-flooded areas have risen or at best stabilized. Meanwhile, floodwaters have spread out to extensive new areas. Drainage canal levels have all been steadily rising. All this can only mean that there continues to be a substantial net inflow of water into Bangkok. Parts of central Eastern Bangkok -- notably (in sequence) Bangkapi, Ramkahhaeng Road, Srinakharin Road, and Phetburi Road -- look sure to be under water by early next week. After Phetburi Road goes under, it will not take long for these waters to flow to Sukhumvit and the rest of downtown Bangkok. Once in downtown Bangkok, this water will await that already steadily flowing down from North and due to pass Victory Monument shortly. An extended period of high tides begins tomorrow and continues for just over a week. This will not only affect the rate at which water can be pumped out, but bring in additional water as river and then canal banks overflow. Just as this stage of the flood is becoming entrenched by the end of next week, floodwaters building up behind the "big bag wall" will begin to pour over the top, bringing a second stronger and unstoppable stage to the flood. No need to analyse the surrounding provinces, as those parts that are not yet under water obviously soon will be. It's going to be at least another 2-3 weeks before Bangkok floodwaters peak. It's anybody's guess as to how long it will take for this water to flow (mainly) or be pumped (partially) out, but to say 2-3 weeks from the flood peak would probably be over optimistic. It'll be at very least another month before Bangkok is relatively dry, and then it will take some time to clean up. (Source: The Nation)


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Some recent figures

Posted by hasekamp on 10 November 2011 at 11:03 AM
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) announced that 560 communities in 12 districts have been under deeper than 80-centimetre water.
The 12 districts and the number of affected people are:
1) Dong Mueang - 84 communities, 37,228 people
2) Saimai - 70 communities, 87,229 people
3) Nong Khem - 57 communities, 35,852 people
4) Lak Si - 54 communities, 51,266 people
5) Phasi Charone - 53 communities, 51,920 people
6) Klong Samwa - 48 communities, 22,341 people
7) Bang Kae - 46 communities, 11,667 people
8) Bang Plad - 46 communities, 51,055 people
9) Taling Chan - 37 communities, 21,221 people
10) Chatuchak - 26 communities, 17,624 people
11) Bang Khen - 24 communities, 22,326 people
12) Thaweewatana - 15 communities, 11,248 people
(Source: The Nation)


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Yingluck also flooded

Posted by hasekamp on 9 November 2011 at 9:23 AM
Floodwater on Tuesday started to seep into Soi Yothin Pattana 3 leading to the residence of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, located near Ramintra-Ekkamai Expressway in Lat Phrao district. Reporters saw a small amount of water being pumped out of the residence although the ground was not submerged. PM Yingluck is scheduled to chair the Cabinet meeting this morning before departing for an inspection trip to Ayutthaya to oversee the recovery efforts for industrial estates, including Rojana Industrial Park. In the afternoon, Yingluck and Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong will jointly hold a press conference outlining post-flooding recovery measures for victims and businesses. (Source: The Nation)


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Do not float a krathong

Posted by hasekamp on 9 November 2011 at 9:20 AM
Relevant authorities have warned Bangkok residents against floating their "krathongs" in floodwater. "Krathongs" are decorative floats that Thais have for centuries floated on the night of Loy Krathong, one of the country's most colourful festivals. This year, the Loy Krathong Festival falls on this week's Thursday. However, millions of Bangkok residents are now surrounded with floodwater and many may be tempted to just float their "krathong" in front of their inundated home, an action that many agencies point out that may end up causing fire. People have usually lit candles on their krathongs too. "If your floats get trapped in a house and cause fire, you will face legal actions," Deputy Metropolitan Police Commissioner Maj General Amnuay Nimmano said. He said revellers should strictly float their krathongs in prepared areas only. (Source: The Nation)


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Diarrhoea cases in Nonthaburu

Posted by hasekamp on 9 November 2011 at 9:16 AM
Authorities have advised residents in flooded areas to boil tap water before drinking it, after 72 cases of diarrhoea were reported at a Nonthaburi condominium. A Department of Disease Control investigation confirmed that all those who fell ill drank tap water without boiling it. Water should be boiled for five minutes. Chlorine is provided free at the DDC. Otherwise, residents should use bottled water certified by the Food and Drugs Administration, or from filters or purifiers certified by industrial standards, the Department advised. (Source: The Nation)


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Flooding update Bangkok

Posted by hasekamp on 9 November 2011 at 9:15 AM
Flood expert Dr Seri Suparathid said today that the Big Bag initiative to delay flooding from the north appears to be working although a considerable mass of water remains in Ayutthaya. Nevertheless there is no room for complacency. Government is trying to divert the water mass to the left and right by fixing breaches in all the flood walls. About 100 million cubic metres of floodwater in inner Bangkok right now. There are at least 200 million cubic metres up north to be managed. Don Mueang, Rangsit residents see rising water above the Big Bag line. Every part of the country that the water mass has passed sees floodwater decline including Chulalongkorn sluice gate. The residents above Big Bag will suffer longer. Big pumps can help but it will take time as the floodwater cannot flow down naturally. On the western front, the flood now inundates Bang Bon and is creeping to Rama II Rd in a few days. Khlong Bang Sue is still holding advancing floodwater. It shoulders heavy responsibility from Khlong Lat Phrao and Khlong Bang Khen. Big Bag could hold about 7 days before being inundated as the water mass keeps coming down. Tomorrow BMA will officially talk about how to handle Khlong Bangsue drainage. Bang Chan industrial estate sees rising water. Recommendation is to make the flow as easy as possible through Khlong Lor Lae. (Source: Morning Focus by The Bangkok Post)


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Ayutthaya starts up again

Posted by hasekamp on 9 November 2011 at 9:07 AM
Twenty-five factories hit by floods in Ayutthaya have re-employed more than 33,000 workers after floodwaters started to subside. The situation in the province has gradually improved, particularly at several industrial estates where floodwaters have receded, Labour Protection and Welfare Department chief Arthit Ismo said. Now, a total of 25 affected factories have restarted production and taken back 33,892 workers, he added. Manufacturing operators in Ayutthaya province have recently notified the department that they would re-employ their workers, totalling about 280,000, the director-general said. In Bangkok, the flooding has affected 6,474 businesses, with 109,602 employees losing their jobs.
He said the floods have eased in many provinces, with the number affected being reduced from 32 to 14. A total of 20,526 businesses with 819,147 workers in the 14 provinces, mostly in the Central Plains, were affected. Representatives from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) recently met with the department to discuss assistance measures for flood-hit workers. Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap said the cabinet yesterday approved the ministry's two measures to ease unemployment. The first measure is that the ministry will pay 2,000 baht a month to workers of flood-affected factories for three months. A budget of some 600 million baht is required to pay 100,000 workers. The second measure is occupational training to be provided to workers whose employment contracts were temporarily terminated due to the flooding. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Thonburi further evacuated

Posted by hasekamp on 5 November 2011 at 16:45 PM
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said that the flooding situaiton on the western side of Bangkok worsened, prompting the city administration to order more evacuations Saturday. He said the city administration ordered the evacuation of residents of Soi Charone 13 in Tha Phra subdistrict of Bangkok Yai disgtrict and ordered evacuations of residents of four subdistricts in Phasi Charone district - Klong Kwang, Bang Duang, Bang Waek and Bang Chak. (Source: The Nation)


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Dusit Zoo animals to be evacuated

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2011 at 19:26 PM
The Dusit Zoo in the heart of Bangkok is preparing an evacuation plan for its animals in the face of looming floods. Flood water has already covered a large part of the capital. "If the flood water level rises to 50 centimetres, we will move some animals to the Khao Kheow Open Zoo," Dusit Zoo director Kanchai Sanwong said yesterday. "If it rises to one metre high, we will evacuate tigers, lions, leopards and bears too," he said. Spanning over 118 rai of land in Dusit district, the zoo is home to about 1,200 animals from 250 species. "We have already evacuated between 3 and 4 per cent of the animals," Kanchai said. Among the evacuated animals are two albino barking deer, 14 spotted dear and four common serows. Kanchai said the zoo had prepared bamboo beds for the animals as dry spots in case flood water seeped in. He believed the flood water level at the zoo would stay below 50 centimetres. Ponds in the zoo totalled over 30 rai in area and were ready to take in more water, he said. The zoo has two weeks' worth of animal feed in stock. "Should the flooding be prolonged, we can seek help from our allies such as the Khao Kheow Open Zoo," Kanchai said. Khao Kheow Zoo is located in Chon Buri. Dusit Zoo is still open to visitors between 8am and 6pm. The number of visitors, however, has dropped to around 400 a day, or one tenth of its usual level. (Source: The Nation)


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Death toll now 442

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2011 at 19:21 PM
Flood-related death toll has risen to 442 and two other people have gone missing, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department announced Friday. The department said 25 provinces are still inundated, affecting 2.09 million people from 713,836 families in 7,960 villages.
The affected provinces are Phichit, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Chainat, Singburi, Angthong, Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Suphan Buri, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Bangkok, Ubon Ratchathani, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Roi Et, Mahasarakham, Kalasin, Chachoengsao, Nakhon Nayok, and Prachin Buri. The department said 39 provinces are in the process of rehabilitation after floodwaters have subsided. (Source: The Nation)


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Another industrial estate under threat

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2011 at 19:18 PM
Somchet Thinaphong, chairman of the board of the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, yesterday urged the Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) to speed the drainage of runoff threatening the estate or it would be flooded by overflow from the Saen Saep canal. Mr Somchet, the former governor of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, said that overflow from the Saen Saep canal had now inundated Rat Uthit Road and swept into the fields in the north and the west of the estate. The runoff was also flowing into canal networks around the estate, Mr Somchet said. He said the water has continued to surge and advance towards the estate even though the sluice gates at Khlong 8-10 at the lower line of Khlong Hok Wa in Pathum Thani were ordered closed by the Froc yesterday. The Froc must drain the water as quickly as possible otherwise Lat Krabang Industrial Estate would be hit by floods within 24 hours, Mr Somchet said. We wonder who is going to pay for all the industrial damages We fear it has to be the government (= the tax payer) ... (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Airport still safe. Another update

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2011 at 19:13 PM
The floodwater spread into Chatuchak, Lat Phrao and Ratchadaphisek on Friday, but authorities insisted that nearby Suvarnabhumi airport will not be flooded. Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Partibatra signed an order for the evacuation of people in four sub-districts of the Chatuchak district because of the rising floodwater. The sub-districts are Lat Yao, Chankasem, Senanikom and Chatuchak, particularly those living near the western bank of Khlong Prem Prachakhon and near the northern route railway. The remainder of Chatuchak's Chom Thong sub-district was declared a flood zone special watch. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration also issued a warning for people in Nong Kaem sub-district to prepare for possible flooding as the area had also been placed on flood zone special watch. This morning, the floodwater arrived at Lat Phrao main intersection, inundating Vibhavadi-Rangsit road in front of the PTT headquarters and the government's Flood Relief Operations Centre's new headquarters. Reports said the water was about 10 centimetres deep and rising. The water also flooded Phahon Yothin road in front of Central Lat Phrao Department Store. Central Pattana Plc, the operator of Central Lat Phrao, announced the temporary closure of the department store until the situation has returned to normal. The company earlier closed Central Pin Khlao and Central Ram Intra due to the flood. The reports said water from the drains inundated Ratchadaphisek road in front of the Civil Court and Chankasem Rajabhat-University near Ratchadaphisek-Lat Phrao intersection. The water was reported about 10 centimetres deep and passable for all vehicles for the moment. Airports Authority of Thailand (AoT) president Somchai Sawasdipol said the 3.5-metre high floodwalls will certainly prevent Suvarnabhumi airport being flooded. He was responding to expressions of concern that the country's main international airport could be forced to close by the widespread flooding in Bangkok. "We project that in a worst case scenario, the floodwater would be no more than 1.50 metres high and our 3.50 metre floodwalls would definitely be able to hold it," Mr Somchai said. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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Flooding goes on and on

Posted by hasekamp on 4 November 2011 at 19:09 PM
It would not surprise us at all if Bangkok would be inundated completely, very soon. Here is a recent update:
Police have now closed 47 roads to traffic because of the flooding in Bangkok, as some underground rail stations are also under flood threat. The intersection to the Ratchavibha Interchange was closed on Friday in addition to the Ratchayothin intersection on Vibhavadi-Rangsit and Phahon Yothin roads. Four more minor roads ere also closed. They are Phraya Suren, Thoet Rachan, Chaeng Wattana Soi 5 and Chang Akat Uthit roads. In western Bangkok, road closures now include Kanchanaphisek road (from Khlong Mahasawat bridge to Khlong Bang Phai), Ratchaphruek road (Khlong Mahasawat to Boromratchonnanee road), Suan Phak road (the Kanchana intersection to Saphan Kham Thang Rot Fai), Bang Ramat road (Kanchana road to Ratchaphruek road), Thawi Watthana road (Khlong Thawi Wattana to Kanchanaphisek). Other routes are Phutthamonthon Sai 1 (from the southern railway transport station to Khlong Bang Phai), Thung Mangkon road (Boromratchonnanee to Suan Phak road), Chim Phli road (the Thung Mangkon intersection to the Taling Chan police station), Chaiyaphruk road (Boromratchonnanee road to Wat Chaiyaphruk) and Bang Waek road (Khlong Thawi Watthana to the Bang Sao Thong police station). The widespread flooding in the capital has also threatened some underground rail stations. A spokesman for the Bangkok subway, the MRT, said that three stations -- Lat Phrao, Phahon Yothin and Chatuchak Park -- were at risk and might have to be shut down if the water outside rose to 40 centimetres deep. "We have deployed officials at all risk stations to assess the situation hourly," he said. Skytrain operator BTS said all services were still operating. The Bank of Thailand said 13 commercial banks and a financial firm reported that they had now temporarily closed a total of 556 branches in flood-hit provinces. Of the total, 267 outlets are in Bangkok, 152 in Pathum Thani, 69 in Nonthaburi, 28 in Ayutthaya, 26 in Nakhon Pathom, seven in Nakhon Sawan, one in Chai Nat and the remainder scattered through other flooded towns, the central bank said. Siam Commercial Bank had the most closed outlets, at 118, followed by Krung Thai (84) and Kasikornbank (77). Services at 4,943 ATMs operated by the banks were also halted. Of the total, 1,679 are in Bangkok, 1,479 in Pathum Thani, 736 in Nonthaburi, 635 in Ayutthaya, 163 in Nakhon Pathom, 57 in Nakhon Sawan, 55 in Samut Sakhon, 47 in Samut Prakan and the remainder scattered through other flooded towns. The central bank on Thursday, Nov 3, reported the banks had closed 482 branches. (Source: The Bangkok Pst)


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Ram-Intra flooded

Posted by hasekamp on 1 November 2011 at 13:47 PM
The water level on Ram-intra Road (an important living area), both inbound and outbound, has continued to rise and the road has become impassable, reports said on Tuesday. On the outbound lanes, water in front of the Central department store is 40-50 centimetres deep. The department store has closed for the second day. The outbound lanes of Ram-intra Road are also flooded, particularly from kilometre 4 to Lak Si circle. All sois branching from Ram-intra road from Lak Si to Soi 39 are flooded. Soi 39, in particular, is 60-70cm under water. (Source: Bangkok Post Morning Focus)


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All of Bangkok still at risk

Posted by hasekamp on 1 November 2011 at 13:33 PM
All 50 districts in Bangkok were still at risk of flooding after a sluice gate in Khlong Sam Wa was opened to a metre-wide, Bangkok deputy governor Thirachon Manomaipiboon said on Tuesday. The first three districts that would face the flood were Bang Kapi, Saphan Sung and Bung Kum, Mr Thirachon said. "Previously, we thought that 19 districts might not experience flooding but now none of them will be safe," the deputy governor said. He said authorities must take engineering into consideration and not just the road surface when managing the flood water. "Bangkok has a total of 2,000 canals and there are many underground tunnels that are connected with each other. When the water is released to Saen Saeb canal, the water will also pass through other canals and tunnels in all 50 districts," Mr Thirachon said. Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva also warned the government against rushing to declare inner Bangkok a flood-free area, saying it could cause people to relax their guard against the flood. Some people had even begun to retrieve their belongings from high areas after listening to the announcements, the opposition leader said. Yet water runoff from the North still threatened to expand further into districts in the west and east of the Chao Phraya River, he said. Bangkok was not encountering only high tides from the sea, that caused the water level in the Chao Phraya to back up and increase in the past three days, but it was also still coping with the massive amount of water from Pathum Thani and Ayutthaya. Mr Abhisit said the government must be "more careful" in the information it gives to the public. Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said the flood situation in Bangkok had improved following the peak high tides on Monday. The chief of operations of the government's Flood Relief Operation Command (Froc) said the Chao Phraya River's level had dropped by 3 or 4 cms. If the water level continued dropping, it would be a good sign for people living along both sides of the river, he said. "When the northern runoff flows out to sea the water level will gradually decrease, but water is still pouring into the west side [of Bangkok]. "Water has entered Bangkok and the rate of draining it out is solely dependent on the city's drainage system. At this time we're still monitoring the northern runoff," Mr Plodprasop said. He said the overall situation in Bangkok and surrounding areas will steadily improve. (Source: The Bangkok Post)


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