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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     24 October  2011

Thai government warns residents to stay off barriers

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The Thai government has declared water gates and flood barriers special control zones as it struggles not only with the disaster but also with interference from protesting affected residents.

The provincial governors of Pathum Thani and Ayutthaya yesterday announced water gates, flood barriers and water pump stations had been declared off-limits to the public.

The announcement, issued under Section 31 of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Act, prohibits any persons from disrupting the authorities' disaster management works and gives powers to local administrative officials to remove or destroy any structures that obstruct disaster control operations.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ordered the closure of Phra-in Racha sluice gate in Khlong Raphipat in Bang Pa-in district of Ayutthaya province, adjacent to Khlong 1 in Khlong Luang district of Pathum Thani yesterday.

The order came after week-long opposition from locals. The failure to close the sluice gate sent floodwater from Wang Noi district of Ayutthaya through Khlong 1 to Rangsit in Pathum Thani and further to Khlong Prem Prachakorn, which flows down to Bangkok.

Run-off from Pathum Thani and overflow from Khlong Prem Prachakorn has already flooded northern Bangkok.
Ms Yingluck ordered police to guard the Phra-in sluice gate and had Chatchawal Panyawatheenant, deputy director-general of the Irrigation Department, hold the key of the gate.

Irrigation officials, however, could not close the sluice gate due to strong flood currents.
The announcements by the governors and the Prime Minister followed confrontations between the locals and authorities over flood relief measures.

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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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