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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     31 October  2011

Thai Flood Update-October 31

Thai Flood Update-October 31

River tide to hit 2.5 meters
Monday's high tide is expected to raise the level of the Chao Phraya river to 2.5 meters above mean sea level at about 11.30 a.m., the Navy's Hydrographic Department said on Monday.

At 4.30am today, the low water level was measured at 1.53 meters.

The water will drop to 2.20 meters  by 3.23 p.m., low tide, but would rise again, reaching 2.30 metres at 7.53 p.m., the department said.

Protecting inner Bangkok
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on said Monday the Flood Relief Operations Centre (Froc) will do its best to protect inner Bangkok from flooding and push for quicker drainage of the water.

She expressed the belief that after today's high tide peak of 2.5 meters above mean sea level, the water in the  canals would drop and the flood would be gone draining more quickly into the sea through the eastern and western floodways.

The government would assess the flood situation on a daily basis after the high tide.

Ms. Yingluck said the volume of water in Ayutthaya province was now stable and expected to drop over the next one or two weeks.

The government has a long-term plan to help the industrial estates ravaged by floods, she said.

Japanese investors said they still had confidence in Thailand after the government explained its plans to the ambassadors of investor countries, she said.

Angry residents threaten city staff
With angry residents threatening violence or vandalism, City Hall has urged the Flood Relief Operations Command to provide protection for authorities trying to build flood barriers.
The barriers are aimed at sparing central Bangkok from the deluge, but communities affected by the build-up of floodwater are pulling them down or threatening workers in some areas.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday stressed the importance of building and strengthening a flood prevention line where Phahon Yothin Road meets Khong Rangsit.

He said the flood defence there is strategically important as it helps to prevent overflow from Khlong Rangsit from entering Bangkok's inner areas via Don Muang district and
Phahon Yothin Road.

MR Sukhumbhand said Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) authorities had failed to build the flood lines there because of heated resistance from residents putting authorities at risk.

He said if the Froc does not have enough personnel for the task, the BMA will send its own workers to help if the Froc can guarantee their safety.

Smith questions dam policy
Smith Dharmasarojana, former director-general of Thai Meteorological Department and currently the chairman of the National Disaster Warning Council Foundation, said the upper dams were simply mismanaged.

"The Irrigation Department and EGAT at reserved too much water when the rains arrived, which were prolonged and heavy. It was simply irrational," he said.

"These two agencies did not know the right amount of water that should be stored, how much was too much and when they should drain the water. Even now, with the country inundated with flooding, water continues to be discharged from the Bhumibol, Sirikit and Pasak Jolasid dams. Why?"

Mr Smith insisted the discharges are unnecessary, as each dams is sufficiently overengineered against cracks even when running a surplus.

"The water should be allowed to overflow from these dams naturally. When the flood recedes, we must figure out why the responsible state agencies did what they did," he said.

UNESCAP working with Thais on flood
Thailand's Geo-informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), which is supporting FROC information management, has won the United Nations ESCAPs' permission to access near real-time flood data from the global constellation of earth observation satellites.

ESCAP is now working with the regional satellite-based disaster information monitoring network Sentinel Asia, the International Charter Space and Major Disasters - supported by a dozen major world space agencies and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

The international support is helping GISTDA access satellite data more frequently, including from commercial satellites, for monitoring the socio-economic damage caused by the floods.

According to the statement by the UN ESCAP Strategic Communications and Advocacy Section, the initiative is in response to the Thai government’s request. It supplements ESCAP’s collaboration with the International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM) in Japan in providing assistance for better flood risk management in Asia and the Pacific. A joint ESCAP-ICHARM expert team is to conduct a field survey in Thailand next month. ESCAP also initiated collaboration for regular access to satellite data and long-term capacity development for disaster risk management in the country.

This week, ESCAP’s executive secretary Noeleen Heyzer visited the Flood Relief Operations Centre at the Don Mueang Airport. Then, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra made the request for satellite data support.

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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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