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Asean Affairs    1  November  2011

Flood stressing residents

 By David Swartzentruber

 AseanAffairs     1  November 2011

Residents of Bangkok’s suburbs are growing weary of inundation from flood waters and in some cases are taking things into their own hands by destroying barriers and demanding that sluice gates to be opened more widely.

The issues have also caused friction between Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra of the opposition Democrat party and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of the Pheu Thai party that carried the July 3 general election.

Yesterday Ms.Yingluck told city officials to allow more water to flow through the Sam Wa canal, appeasing thousands of residents who have held protests in the flooded northeastern part of the capital.
Maintaining the dikes, canals and sandbag barriers on the city’s outskirts is key to protecting inner Bangkok from floodwaters.

Rainfall was 42 percent more than average this year and filled dams north of Bangkok to capacity, prompting authorities to release more than 9 billion cubic meters of water.
On his part, Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra warned against “mob rule” in managing floodwaters on the city’s outskirts, saying the entire country will suffer if waters inundate central business areas.

Bangkok and its environs account for about half of Thailand’s industrial output, according to official statistics.

It is still uncertain what the cost will be to the Thai economy but some economists feel that it could reach as high as $US 10 billion equaling 2 to 3 percent of Thailand’s gross domestic product.

The Bank of Thailand The central bank last week reduced its economic growth forecast for 2011 to 2.6 percent from 4.1 percent after floods swamped almost 10,000 factories.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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