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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     26 October  2011

Flooding fears in Bangkok

Fears of flooding across the Thai capital grew on Wednesday after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra warned parts of Bangkok could face inundation for up to a month, with authorities calling a special five-day holiday to allow people to leave.

"After assessing the situation, we expect floodwater to remain in Bangkok for around two weeks to one month before going into the sea," Yingluck told reporters on Wednesday.

"However, the situation shouldn't be serious as in other provinces. We shouldn't face water as high as two or three metres staying for two or three months as we've seen in other provinces."

She said in a televised address late on Tuesday central Bangkok could be swamped by up to 1.5 metres (nearly five feet) of water in some places if barriers broke and told residents to get their belongings up to high ground.

Authorities would guard important places such as the royal palace and power stations, she said.

The floods in the north, northeast and centre of Thailand have killed at least 366 people since mid-July and disrupted the lives of nearly 2.5 million, with more than 113,000 in shelters and 720,000 people seeking medical attention.

Flooding has forced the closure of seven industrial estates in Ayutthaya, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani provinces bordering Bangkok, causing billions of dollars of damage, disrupting international supply chains for industry and putting about 650,000 people temporarily out of work.

The authorities have called a holiday from Thursday, Oct. 27 until Monday, Oct. 31 to allow people to get out of town at a time of expected high estuary tides on the Chao Phraya river.

TV footage on Wednesday showed people wading knee-high alongside the river by the Grand Palace, one of the main tourist attractions in Bangkok.
Tourism Minister Chumphol Silpa-archa said tourist arrivals could be 500,000 to 1 million below the government's target of 19 million this year because of the floods.


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ASEAN  ANALYSIS

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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