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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     29 October  2011

Thai Flood Update-October 29

A critical weekend
Ocean tides in the Gulf of Thailand reach their critical peak tomorrow (Sunday) and Monday mornings. The high tides slow down the draining of the flood waters from Thailand to the sea. If Bangkok can make it through the next two days without a major catastrophe, many observers believe that further flooding will not occur in Bangkok.
The Royal Irrigation Department also announced Saturday that inner Bangkok could escape flooding if there is no more major flood barrier damage between now and November 6.
The department explained that after November 6, high tides will not be a threat in the capital and the authorities will have only to deal with northern runoff and floodwaters around Bangkok.

Western Bangkok at risk
The west of Bangkok faces a risk of being under a meter of water in the next few days, a senior official from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) said.
"The water will likely cover the entire western zone of Bangkok, with the level ranging between 50 centimeters and one meter," Chainat Niyomthoon, deputy director of the BMA Drainage and Sewerage Department, said Friday.
Chainat said the Maha Sawas Canal is about to brim over and all the BMA can do is encourage people to evacuate.
Bangkok's western zone lies on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River.

Airport open
Suvaranabhumi airport remains open with arrivals and departures operating normally. The only concern is if the electrical supply is impacted by floodwaters, but most think that will not happen.

Job losses
Of the 740,000 or so flood-affected workers, more than 2,800 have lost their jobs, though many businesses have said they will continue hiring more than 280,000 workers, the Department of Labour Protec-tion and Welfare said yesterday.
The largest layoffs were at Canon in Ayutthaya, which terminated the employment of 1,979 people who had been working there for less than a year, and spent 51 million baht in total compensation. Arthit said Canon, among other companies, was ready to rehire the workers once the floods receded.

Royal concern
Their Majesties the King and Queen are concerned about the welfare of Thais in the wake of flooding and have asked the military to do its best to help them, Army commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha said yesterday.
Speaking at an Air Force facility that provides relief support and shelters to flood evacuees the general called on the public to trust that the military would never give up providing help.

More holidays?
Justice Minister Pracha Promnok said Saturday that he will consult Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra about extension of the special holiday period.
Pracha, head of the Flood Relief Operations Centre, said he would have to first discuss with the prime minister to determine whether the holidays would be extended and how many more days should be declared holidays.
He said the situation will have to be assessed on the daily basis.

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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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