Bangkok governor, officials prepare for triple threat
The Bangkok governor yesterday announced the formation of a flood-prevention "war room" in a bid to put up "a special fight" to protect the capital against the triple threat of rainstorms, water runoff from upriver, and high tides from the Gulf of Thailand.Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra told a press conference at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration yesterday that the city faced a three-pronged threat.
He said the BMA would closely monitor the situation round-the-clock, particularly from October 16 to 18, when problems are expected to peak.
"Areas of concern include communities along both sides of the Chao Phraya River and those outside the flood embankments, as well as the [low-lying] eastern districts such as Lat Krabang, Min Buri, Nong Chok, and Klong Samwa," the governor said.
He said the BMA's newly-established Flood Prevention Operation Centre would begin work today and have its office at Min Buri community hall. The centre, to be overseen by BMA permanent secretary Thaweesak Dejdecha, would be responsible for helping residents in four eastern districts.
The governor said officials had devised a plan to evacuate residents in 27 communities that were not protected by flood barriers. Ten BMA vocational training centres around the city had been prepared for evacuees, he added.
Sukhumbhand said he got messages on his online social account asking which areas of Bangkok would be flooded. He said he didn't know exactly.
"But I am still firm that the BMA will be able to counter the extra water. If between October 16 and 18, there is runoff from the North, high tides and rain in Bangkok, the BMA will have to put up a special fight," he said.
The governor also ordered flood barriers around Siriraj Hospital on the river to be strengthened. His Majesty the King has been hospitalised at Siriraj in recent times. But Sukhumbhand said during an inspection yesterday he felt confident the hospital would not be flooded.
Meanwhile, the 24/7 Emergency Operation Centre for Floods, Storms and Landslides has instructed the BMA to tell the public that water levels in Bangkok remain manageable in order to allay public fears of severe flooding.
Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation chief Vibul Sa-nguanpong, in his capacity as the centre's deputy director, said many Bangkok residents were overly concerned due to news of severe flooding in provinces upriver.
Meanwhile, the government's National Flood Relief Centre has ordered sandbag walls be erected in three suburban locations to prevent flooding in Bangkok, according to Justice Minister Pracha Promnok, the centre's director.
Temporary embankments would be built at Muang Ake housing estate in Pathum Thani's Rangsit area, behind Mahidol University in Bangkok's Taling Chan district, and along Canal Number 5 in Pathum Thani. "I will try to have them completed by October 13," Pracha said.