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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   6 September 2013  
Major drainage works in pipeline: Balakrishnan

SINGAPORE: Heavy rain on Thursday morning pelted the island and caused flooding in parts of Singapore.

Flash floods were reported at the junction of Commonwealth Drive and Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandra Road at the junction of Delta Road, Lorong Kismis, the junction of South Bridge Road and Maxwell Road, the junction of Cuscaden Road and Tomlinson Road, and along the Ayer Rajah Expressway towards Clementi.

The National Parks Board reported four cases of fallen trees at Bukit Timah, Outram and Bukit Batok. No injuries were reported.

One fallen tree at Dunearn Road damaged three cars and obstructed three lanes. The obstructions were subsequently cleared.

One of the places worst hit by floods was the Ayer Rajah Expressway which was closed to traffic as drains overflowed due to intense rainfall and rising tide.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on his Facebook page that plans are in place to expand the Sungai Pandan Kechil canal along the expressway and added that these plans have to be expedited.

In the longer term, a barrage may even be built to control water levels.

Dr Balakrishnan said: "We're bringing new technology to bear on getting accurate topographic maps. We can also then use that to model future events under greater climate or weather stress and that will also help us plan, in a more refined way, our future infrastructure that will be necessary to deal with these events.

"We will need some time but I'm confident that we can make an improvement to the situation. I think it's not acceptable to have a major expressway shut down because of a flood."

National water agency PUB has scheduled drainage improvement works at Commonwealth Avenue, which will commence in the fourth quarter of this year and are expected to be completed by the first half of 2015.

The PUB said in a statement issued on Thursday afternoon that the downpour over the central and western parts of Singapore began at 8.15am and ended around 9.30am.

The heaviest rainfall was recorded at Kent Ridge with a rainfall of 102.8mm from 8.10am to 9.40am. It peaked between 8.15am to 8.50am, with a rainfall of 82.2mm.

At Kent Ridge, a mini-waterfall was spotted as undergraduates reported ankle-deep waters within and around the National University of Singapore (NUS).

At the university’s science faculty bookshop, damage control was underway.

Staff said while this is not the first time a flood has occurred, it was definitely the worst, with an estimated S$20,000 worth of books damaged.

Patricia Foo, assistant manager at NUS' Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society Limited, said: "The water level rose to above the drain level and we tried our best to put in a lot of cardboards to actually stem the water from flowing into the shop but it was too late. The water just came in, rush in and we couldn't even salvage any books."

The shop is looking at investing in sandbags to prevent similar occurrences.

NUS said classes and daily operations on campus were not affected by the flash floods.

The university has enhanced the drainage system to mitigate flooding due to heavy downpours and will continue to look for solutions to reduce the incidence of flash flooding.

Over at Fairfield Methodist School in Dover, students had to clamber around fences to avoid wet ground.

The National Environment Agency said a convergence of winds over the region led to heavy rainfall on Thursday.

It added that for the next few days, thundery showers are expected mainly in the morning and early afternoon.

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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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