Pattaya Daily News

25 October 2010 :: 17:10:38 pm 44768

Bangkok Stands on the Brink

Bangkok stands in imminent danger of inundation as the Chao Phraya River surged due to run-offs from the North, swelled by a large influx of water that has breached temporary dykes in provinces upstream from Bangkok. High tides and continuing rain added to the problem, prompting Bangkok authorities to draw up evacuation plans for 13 districts in the capital.
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Bangkok, 25 October 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: as the water-level in Bangkok surged extremely close to the 2.5-metre flood safety level, authorities are poised to evacuate residents in 13 riverside communities in the capital. Bangkok is only 3½ to 5 feet above the nearby Gulf of Thailand at its highest point, parts of the city are already below sea level and the capital is sinking by 4 inches a year.

Flood walls in Bangkok have been reinforced with 200,000 sandbags and over 1,000 water pumps are in readiness, with plans in hand for the evacuations of schools, monasteries and mosques along the Chao Phraya River and areas outside the flood prevention embankments.

Residents in vulnerable areas have also been warned not to pilfer sandbags from beside the Chao Phraya River to shore up their own domestic defences. Temporary shelter will be provided at over 20 schools, temples and mosques to accommodate the capital’s flood victims, who are urged not to risk staying in their homes. Those concerned about theft from their abandoned homes were issued reassurances that they will be monitored by police to prevent any looting.

Bangkok is one of the 13 most vulnerable cities in the globe most at risk from inundation. “If the heart of Thailand is under water everything will stop,” says Smith Dharmasaroja, Chair of the government’s Committee of National Disaster Warning Administration. “We don’t have time to move our capital in the next 15-20 years. We have to protect our heart now, and it’s almost too late.” The resultant paralysis of Thailand’s hub of tourism and the economy would cripple the whole country for decades to come.

So far 2.6 million people have been affected in more than 24 provinces across the country, the death toll has risen to 41, and the damage assessments are estimated to be in the range of Bt10-20 billion.

The committee to co-ordinate disaster relief now includes 28 leading members of key organisations and agencies, including the departments of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Irrigation, Meteorology, Local Administration and Public Relations as well as the Army chief, the national police chief, the Armed Forces supreme commander, the heads of the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, and the Thai Bankers Association. The Committee is being headed by the PM’s Office Minister Satit Wongnongtaey assisted by the former Bangkok Governor, Apirak Kosayodhin, Their task is to co-ordinate assistance to flood victims and provide rehabilitation to those affected to ensure recovery as soon as possible.

Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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