City fate rests on barriers

national October 19, 2011 00:00

By THE NATION

18,378 Viewed

Residents in many areas of Bangkok's neighbouring provinces - Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Nakhon Pathom - were evacuated yesterday, while the capital's chance of escaping the raging floods now depends on some temporary barriers.



Though some temporary structures are already in place, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will need to build more or raise the height of the existing ones. 

 
The 6-kilometre flood barriers along the Hok Wa Canal, for example, will have to be 50 centimetres higher, to 3 metres. The BMA plans to increase the height by using 1.2 million sandbags.
 
The BMA will also rush to build a 3-metre-high floodwall along the 15km Prachasamran Road, besides other measures. 
 
Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday urged people to help protect the flood barriers. 
“The risk is now about the temporary floodwalls,” he said via Twitter. 
 Sukhumbhand inspected a temporary embankment under the bridge across the Rangsit Canal, which is connected to Phaholyothin Road. The road’s surface level is 2 metres above the canal, but the water level has been rising fast. 
 
 
“We have built an 80cm-high flood barrier on top of the road but now the water level is just 50cm lower than the embankment level,” he said.
 
In Pathum Thani yesterday afternoon, a ditch 1.5-2 metres deep in Klong Sam subdistrict of Klong Luang district was breached for about 10 metres, resulting in the run-off gushing to Rangsit and Thanyaburi canals through Keha Rapeepat 1 Village. The road surface was damaged and residents were evacuated.
 
More than 300 evacuees were forced to leave the shelter at Prachathipat Community School at noon yesterday after flood water swelled at the Rangsit Market community. Later, at around 3pm, the Rangsit municipality announced evacuation of 2,500 households in the Rattanakosin 200 Pii village as the water level was continuously rising.
Also around noon, all flood-affected people in the Dhammakaya Temple shelter were evacuated.
 
Meanwhile, the shelter at Thammasat Rangsit campus stopped accepting more evacuees as it had reached its full capacity of 3,800 people, which included people from the Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate. However, as the campus is only 8km from Nava Nakorn, it is uncertain whether it will be safe from the floods, vice rector Kampol Ruchiwit said. 
 
Flood-affected people who live around the area but do not stay at the shelter can present their identification cards to get donated supplies at 1pm daily. A lot of people have done so.
 
At around 11.20am, the Royal Irrigation Department announced Nonthaburi’s Bang Kruay, Bang Yai and Bang Bua Thong as areas possibly affected by floods.
 
Meanwhile, residents in Buddhamonthon district of Nakhon Pathom yesterday afternoon were told to prepare for evacuation within 24 hours as chief Prinya Pothisat said the water level was likely to rise by another metre.
The villagers were told to move their belongings to higher places and build water barriers. They could also go to one of the seven prepared shelters that can accept up to 3,000 evacuees.
Klong Mahasawat and Klong Yong communities were already flooded but Buddhamonthon Hospital was still able to operate, Prinya said.
 
Kanchanaphisek Wittayalai school in Salaya can accept 1,000 people and 400 cars, he said. To contact it, call 084-6626298. Mahamakut Buddhist University can accept 500 people and 400 cars (contact 086-8807238); Buddhamonthon Vocational College in Klong Yong can accept 300 people and 50 cars (contact 081-1485484).
 
Thirty Air Force planes based in Don Mueang Airport’s military terminal have been relocated to three airbases – U-tapao naval base in Chon Buri, Wing 41 in Chiang Mai and Wing 1 in Nakhon Ratchasima.
 
Ten other Air Force planes remain at Don Mueang Airport for possible rescue and recovery missions but are ready for emergency relocation at three hours’ notice, Air Force spokesman Air Vice Marshal Monthol Satchukorn said.
 
Weaponry and explosives have been relocated to depots outside Bangkok and equipment needed for landing has been moved a metre higher. 
 
Air Force military police are now handling civil affairs inside the airport compound and will supervise evacuation if needed.

Most view