Saturday 22 October 2011

Floodwaters close in on Bangkok

Updated October 22, 2011 13:17:30

Thailand's prime minister has warned all residents of Bangkok to prepare for flooding as immense amounts of water close in on the city from the north.
This warning has changed since less than a week ago the government told residents the city would avoid severe flooding.
The government has admitted that it cannot hope to divert all of the water around the metropolitan area.
Thailand's army chief has also warned Bangkok's population that dykes will not restrain the water that is flowing from the country's flooded north to the ocean.
"For safety reason, I would like you to get ready and move things in higher ground," said prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Since that statement to a particular residential district, she has advised all of Bangkok to prepare.
It remains unclear exactly if, when or how much water will flow into the city.
But even in the CBD at Siam Square business owners are sandbagging their properties with tourists shopping around them.
One tourist said: "Will it have any effect? I guess it will in some sorts if the water's come through, I'm not really too sure what to expect."
Some outer suburbs are already flooded, and while the government admits it cannot hold the water back, flood barriers are still being fortified at key locations.
One of the efforts at Khlong Hok Wah is a seven kilometre sandbag wall being build to help protect the north-eastern suburbs.
Surakiat Limcharean, a supervisor of the efforts, says if flood water reaches his location the water level in the SaiMai and Don Mueang districts will rise.
"This part here is the connecting point between Bangkok and Phatumtani province where part of the flood water from the north will pass Bangkok," he said.

'I am afraid'

Residents in both of the districts have been ordered to prepare.
Laeade Bunjonsilpa, who lives directly opposite the canal, says water levels have been fluctuating.
"The water level is going up and down continuously," she says.
"I am going nowhere just sitting here watching the water level.
"What worries me is the water will go inside the house. If you ask me am I afraid? Yes, I am."
Ms Bunjonsilpa's house is about 25 kilometres in a direct line from the city centre to the north-east.
But to the north-west about 15 kilometres from the CBD, the major canal Khlong Prapa is full to overflowing.
Bulldozers are pulling dirt from the canal floor and piling it to the side of the waterway.
Pon Klueryai, who lives a kilometre away, has been watching the progress and believes the mud is the problem.
"I think it is because its mud and water. The water can penetrate though all parts of the mud wall easily," he said.
More water is expected to hit the city's northern boundary this weekend.

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