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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     2 November  2011

Bangkok on flood alert

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra has given himself wide-ranging control over flood operations in the city and will send council workers backed by police to repair the controversial Khlong Sam Wa sluice gate.

MR Sukhumbhand's dramatic move last night is in defiance of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's order for the BMA to widen the sluice gate to one metre. She took the action after nearby residents destroyed part of the sluice gate under the eye of police to speed up the drainage of their communities.

The governor said he was using an order under the disaster prevention law which stipulates that he is the director of disaster management in Bangkok. It means he can send metropolitan police to Khlong Sam Wa sluice gate to maintain order and prevent further demolition.

The penalty for defying the police and obstructing the workers is three months in jail and/or a 6,000 baht fine.

MR Sukhumbhand said the gate might collapse if it was not repaired and that would cause massive flood damage to communities along Ram Intra and Ram Khamhaeng Road.

Meanwhile, Deputy Governor Thirachon Manomaipiboon said all 50 districts in Bangkok are at risk of flooding as a result of the Khlong Sam Wa incident.

He said the first three districts in Bangkok that would likely face the incoming deluge are Bang Kapi, Saphan Sung and Bung Kum.
On Monday, Mr Thirachon said 19 districts would likely be spared as the drainage to the east was working well.

"Previously, we thought that 19 districts might not experience flooding, but now none of them is safe," he said.

Prime Minister Yingluck on Monday ordered the BMA to widen the sluice gate to one metre after an angry protest.

"Bangkok has 2,000 canals and there are many underground tunnels that are connected with each other. When the water is released to Saen Saep canal, it will pass through all 50 districts," Mr Thirachon said.

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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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