Updated: Assurances

16 10 2011

In The Nation, “Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra assured the public yesterday that the government was doing its best to tackle the country’s ‘worst flood disaster in history’ and to help people affected.”

In her weekly radio programme, Yingluck said that of 56 flood-affected provinces, 10 were hard-hit: Nakhon Sawan, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Lop Buri, Ang Thong, Sing Buri, Chai Nat, Uthai Thani and Chachoengsao.

Officials were trying to drain floodwater into the sea as fast as possible, Yingluck said, adding that she had instructed related agencies to prevent floodwater from getting into strategic and major economic locations such as business districts, industrial estates, airports, flood shelters, major provincial cities and inner Bangkok.

… On the eastern side of the capital, three major canals had been dredged, and work was underway on four more.

On the western side, where floodwater is flowing through the Tha Chin River, the river’s winding character made it necessary to dig shortcuts to speed up the drainage, while 171 water pumps and 100 water-pushing boats were in place, Yingluck said.

To protect Bangkok, three levees had been reinforced and heightened, she said. An additional 24km-long levee was being constructed between Klong Rapeepat and Pratunam Pra-in and would be completed soon, she said.

Repairs to Pathum Thani’s Ban Phrao sluice gate were expected to be finished later yesterday, Yingluck said, asking residents to cooperate by not dismantling the floodwalls and assuring them the government would do its best to help flood victims.

… Urging the public to have confidence in the government’s proposed systematic long-term solutions to flooding, she invited members of the public to join in tackling the problem and help the country overcome the difficulties together.

… Yingluck chaired a meeting with military and Interior Ministry officials to discuss search and rescue missions for stranded flood victims. She asked that Air Force helicopters be used to search for stranded victims, and that the Interior Ministry use household census data to identify which people were at shelters and which remained in flooded areas.

Yingluck also instructed provincial governors to educate residents about the installation of floodwalls in order to gain their cooperation.

The highlighted quotes refer to the considerable resentment towards efforts to “save Bangkok” by flooding or increasing the levels and durations of floods in central provinces.

Yingluck’s assurances were matched by other ministers and officials. They claim that peak flows had passed. The last three breaking news stories at the Bangkok Post seem to add to these assurances:

However, Royal Irrigation Department Director-General Chalit Damrongsak added that “as much water as possible would be drained before the sea level would rise during October 28-30.” A high tide might again threaten low-lying areas such as Bangkok if inundation levels remain high.

Tha Thien on the river (Bangkok Post photo)

Update: Some international reports:

Thailand Says Floodwaters Receding, Won’t Inundate Bangkok
By Supunnabul Suwannakij Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) — Thailand’s government said Bangkok will be spared from floods that have killed almost 300 people and devastated central and northern provinces as water levels receded and defenses around the capital held.
See all stories on this topic »

Thailand: Bangkok escapes floods as waters recede
Seattle Post Intelligencer
A woman sits on sandbags made for flood barriers Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand. Fear and confusion gripped Bangkok as residents grappled with mixed messages over whether Thailand’s worst floods in decades would overwhelm the intricate



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