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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                   15  September 2011

Floods on their way to Bangkok

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Water runoff from the north is threatening Bangkok as overflow from the Chao Phraya River has flooded part of Bang Pa-in district in Ayutthaya.

The district is adjacent to Pathum Thani, to the north of Bangkok. The flood front, which Wednesday forced traders in Bang Pa-in's old market to relocate, is expected to arrive in the capital soon.

The flood level in the market and a riverside community was measured at 50 centimetres yesterday and is expected to rise to 1 metre in the next few days.

More water runoff continues to pass through the Chao Phraya Barrage in Chai Nat with the rate expected to increase to 3,900 cubic metres a second early next week. This flow rate can put riverside communities in the downstream Chao Phraya, including Bangkok, at risk of inundation, said interior deputy permanent secretary Chomchuen Bunyanuson.

The National Disaster Warning Centre warned people in Bangkok and Samut Prakan yesterday to start preparing for floods.

Ayutthaya has already been partly hit by floods. The situation worsened yesterday in Bang Ban district when a sluice gate in Khlong Tanueng collapsed, causing a large amount of water to flow into 50,000 rai of paddy fields. The sluice gate is connected to the Noi River, a subsidiary of the Chao Phraya.

Most of the harvesting has been done in the fields, and they will serve as a water retention area in the rainy season.

Villager Somchit Sawangkit wanted officials to quickly fix the gate as the water is flooding a traditional Thai house made of teak logs. He was worried the entire house would be washed away by the strong currents.

Ayutthaya is among 23 provinces which are struggling against floods.

According to the Interior Ministry, more than 760,000 people have been affected by floods countrywide.

A total of 83 people have died and three are still missing in the flood disaster, the ministry said.

In tambon Nam Phai in Uttaradit's Nam Pat district, which was ravaged by mountain torrents and mudslides last week, rescuers yesterday retrieved the body of one more villager, Pha Khamwai, 82, at the scene.

The search for a five-year-old boy, Yingsak Indisi, who went missing, continued. The discovery of Pha's body brought the death toll in the tambon to six.

In Phichit, part of a sandbag wall by the Nan River collapsed yesterday, inundating a century-old market in tambon Wang Krot in Muang district.

Villagers were worried the water would damage the century-old community they have tried to preserve.

Meanwhile, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Theera Wongsamut visited Phitsanulok's Bang Rakam district yesterday to hand over 48 million baht worth of financial assistance to 1,043 affected farmers.



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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
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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.

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