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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     24 October  2011

Floods roll into Bangkok

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The governor of Bangkok issued a warning to residents of the Thai capital to prepare for floodwaters to roll deeper into the city from suburban areas already submerged.

In a live telecast late Sunday, Gov. Sukhumbhand Paribatra said a massive amount of water has moved faster than anticipated and was expected to flood the Don Muang area just north of the city proper - where Bangkok's old airport is located and now being used as headquarters for the anti-flood effort and a shelter for evacuees.

On Monday, water flooded traffic lanes near Don Muang airport, though one lane was still passable. Thai television showed residents in the area leaving their houses with luggage. Air operations were normal there, however, as well as at Bangkok's main international airport on the other side of the city.

Sukhumbhand said the water would threaten five other districts as well as it barrels toward the city's more developed areas. On the warning list was the Chatuchak district, popular with tourists and locals both for its "Weekend Market" of handicrafts and myriad other wares.

"Now all indications point to only one conclusion: a critical problem will happen," Sukhumbhand said. He said residents of the six districts should move their belongings to higher ground, and the sick and elderly should be evacuated to shelters set up by the city. There was no indication that the capital's inner city residential and business districts were yet at risk.

Sukhumbhand's warning stood in stark contrast to reassurances given earlier in the day by the Flood Relief Operations Center of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government. It announced that the situation was under control and could be expected to improve.

However, less than an hour after Sukhumbhand's warning, the center's chief, Justice Minister Pracha Promnok, came on the air to read a brief statement saying it would support the city's relief efforts.

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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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