Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bangkok escapes wrath of floods

Bangkok yesterday managed to escape being submerged in floods that have been sweeping through 24 provinces.

Farmers in the neighbouring province of Pathum Thani are calling on authorities to open at least one watergate in the capital so water levels in an overflowing canal can be eased.

"The Hok Wa canal has risen one metre above its banks," Suchat Janchang complained yesterday.

Suchat, who is a farmer in Pathum Thani's Lam Luk Ka district, said more than 1,000 rai of his paddy fields would be in jeopardy if a watergate was not opened soon to let out some of the water. "Have some sympathy for us. We are going to incur huge losses," the 46-year-old said.

Lam Luk Ka district chief Panuwat Jenprasert said if Bangkok authorities continued blocking flood waters, then more than 18,000 rai of the local farmland would be submerged sustaining huge damages.

"Some of them have been flooded for nearly a month now," he said.

After a meeting with relevant authorities on preventing floods in Bangkok and adjacent provinces, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) had been well prepared to deal with the situation.

Also present at the meeting were Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra and the provincial governors of Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Chachoengsao.

According to Yingluck, authorities are proceeding in line with His Majesty's advice on water management as they tackle the ongoing flood problems. "We will be pushing the water out of the capital via Lat Pho Canal. It's faster," she said.

With run-offs from the North, the Chao Phraya River has already overflowed in several provinces in the Central region.

In Chai Nat province, raging torrents in the Chao Phraya River knocked down a portion of an embankment and submerged Phaholyothin Road between the 290 and 293 kilometre markers, making that portion of the road impassable to traffic.

According to BMA Drainage and Sewerage Department chief Sanya Sheenimit, up to 3,800 cubic metres of water travelled down Chao Phraya River in Ayutthaya's Bang Sai district yesterday. Ayutthaya is just an hour's drive from Bangkok.

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