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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     9 November  2011

Protecting Bangkok

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is making a maximum push to drain floodwater from the northern outskirts through Khlong Bang Sue in the hope of protecting the heart of Bangkok.

Massive runoff from the north surging toward Phahon Yothin, Vibhavadi Rangsit and Ratchadaphisek roads are being blocked by Khlong Bang Sue which cuts across the three roads at Chatuchak intersection, near Sutthisan intersection and in front of the Chaophya Park Hotel respectively.

The BMA has installed 17 water pumps at Khlong Bang Sue and is running them at full capacity to drain overflow into the Chao Phraya River. But overflow from Khlong Bang Sue has flowed through sewers in nearby areas.

If the floods pass across Khlong Bang Sue, they will head to Saphan Khwai before reaching Victory Monument.

BMA deputy spokesman Wasant Meewong yesterday said the BMA planned to drain floodwater from Saphan Khwai, if it arrives, to Khlong Samsen where 15 water pumps have been installed.

Other canals which will be used to drain floodwater from Saphan Khwai are the smaller Khlong Makkasan (with five water pumps) and Khlong Bang Khen Mai (10 water pumps).
The BMA wants 45 more pumps from the government to speed drainage through the canals, he said.

Mr. Wasant said if big sandbags in northern Bangkok delayed water inflows, the BMA could prevent floods from reaching Victory Monument.

But Seri Supparathit, director of Rangsit University's climate change and disaster centre, said yesterday that big sandbags in northern Bangkok would delay inflows of floodwater from upper areas of the city for only seven days.

"But in seven days, water will overflow the big bags and gush in at a rate of about 100 cubic metres per second. I think in seven days, water will reach Victory Monument and Ratchathewi district," Assoc Prof Seri said.

Justice Minister Pracha Promnok as the director of the Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) yesterday admitted that massive amounts of floodwater had yet to enter Bangkok mainly through its northern outskirts and Khlong 1 and Khlong 2 canals.

He hoped that Bangkok's big drainage tunnels could cope with the water.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday ordered evacuations of parts of Nuanjan and Klong Kum subdistricts of Bung Kum district.

He said the levels of canals in Bangkok had started to stabilise but were still high and there were deep floods in Min Buri, Klong Sam Wa, Kannayao, Bung Kum, Saphan Sung, Phasicharoen and Chom Thong districts.

His deputy Thirachon Manomaipibul said he was not overly concerned about the situation in eastern Bangkok because flood levels there were bottoming out and the BMA had received 57 pumps to drain water there.

He expressed concern about western Bangkok as dykes had leaked at many locations. He said inflows would threaten Rama II Road, the only remaining route linking Bangkok and the South.

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