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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     5 November  2011

Thai Flood Update-November 4

Floods spread
The floodwater spread into Chatuchak, Lat Phrao and Ratchadaphisek on Friday, but authorities insisted that nearby Suvarnabhumi airport will not be flooded.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Partibatra signed an order for the evacuation of people in four sub-districts of the Chatuchak district because of the rising floodwater.

The sub-districts are Lat Yao, Chankasem, Senanikom and Chatuchak, particularly those living near the western bank of Khlong Prem Prachakhon and near the northern route railway.

The remainder of Chatuchak's Chom Thong sub-district was declared a flood zone special watch.

Thai subway may be affected
Thailand's worst floods in half a century reached the edge of downtown Bangkok on Friday, threatening some underground rail stations and forcing the closure of a major shopping centre.

About 20 percent of the capital is now submerged in floodwater contaminated by rubbish, dead animals and industrial waste, raising fears about outbreaks of disease in the densely populated metropolis of 12 million people.

The slow-moving water is now just a few kilometers (miles) away from business and tourist districts, despite reassurances from the government that central Bangkok would be spared.

Cooperation issue flares up
Flood relief officials quarreled after Bangkok city's request for pumps to help drain the water in Thon Buri apparently received no response from the Royal Irrigation Department.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra was clearly fuming after Friday's meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, when RID chief Chalit Damrongsak said he had not received the city’s letter requesting pumps to drain water from flooded Phasicharoen district.

MR Sukhumbhand later denied he said there was "no response" to the request, but did say he was still waiting for the requested support.

City clerk Charoenrat Chutikan insisted the city did send the letter to the department, via the government's Flood Relief Operations Centre headed by Justice Minister Pracha Promnok.

Roads closed
Police have now closed 47 roads to traffic because of the flooding in Bangkok and 556 bank branches are closed.

Bangkok canals blocked
An inspection has revealed that many illegal structures have been built on 26 waterways in eastern Bangkok, leading to estuaries being redirected or blocked altogether - one of the key reasons why it is taking so long to drain the floods, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said Thursday.

Gates closed to save industrial park
The flood menace to the Bangchan Industrial Estate and its 93 factories in eastern Bangkok eased yesterday after the sluice gates of Canals 8, 9 and 10 in Pathum Thani were closed, but not without protest.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra indicated that the action was taken to reduce the risk to the 677-rai industrial park.

However, locals have demanded that the Flood Relief Operation Centre open Canal 9's gate immediately.

The massive flood has already wiped out all industrial parks in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani and is now invading the capital.

Zoo animals could be moved
Dusit Zoo has prepared to evacuate animals to Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Chon Buri in the event that the floodwaters spread to the area, zoo director Dr Karnchai Saenwongse said on Friday.

The zoo, which is on Rama V Road, is currently home to 250 species with 1,200 animals spread over 118 rai of land. The authority has prepared sandbags to block the water at the doors of the animals' cages as well as food for about two weeks.

Water in ponds in the zoo compound had already been drained to a level where they could receive the floodwater.

Karnchai said the animals are divided into groups according to their living quarters. The first groups to be evacuated to Chon Buri are those that would face difficulty if the water level reached 50 centimetres.

These included animals such as deer and barking deer, he said.

If the water level reached one metre, tigers would be relocated to Chon Buri, he said, adding birds, monkeys and crocodiles would be safe and fine in the flood.

He reiterated that the crocodile ponds have high and strong walls.

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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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