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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     29 October  2011

Thai airport remains safe

Suvarnabhumi airport, Thailand’s international airport, remains safe. Authorities are confident they can handle the flood crisis but a team of Japanese safety experts remains concerned about its power supply sustainability, which is key to flood drainage.

Wing Cdr Suk Puangthum, Suvarnabhumi airport's deputy general manager for maintenance, was confident that its 23.5km-long dike could keep water out of the 32 sq km airport area.

The dike has been increased in height to 3.5m above mean sea level from the previous level of 3m, Wing Cdr Suk said.
The canal outside was now only 0.8 metres above sea level.

He added there were two reservoirs, each only at 25 percent of their full capacity of 4 million cubic metres.

Senior airport technicians briefed two senior Japanese officials, Michio Higashijima, director of international affairs for airport planning and construction at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and Norifumi Yoshida, chief of airport engineering for the MLIT Civil Aviation Bureau, who flew in from Japan to support flood-prevention efforts. They were also taken on an inspection tour.

The Japanese embassy's economic minister, Masato Otaka, said the Thai government had asked the two experts to look at how the airport could cope with the floods.

The experts told reporters after the two-hour briefing and inspection of Suvarnabhumi airport's pumping stations, reservoirs and power stations that authorities were well prepared, but the flood crisis was not something that could be precisely predicted. They needed more time to study the details, and particularly the blueprint of the airport layout.

Asked if they were concerned about the internal power supply, the experts said the airport's strategic flood-prevention system was the dike, and any water trickling into the airport could be pumped out.

"If the electrical control centers malfunction due to water leaking into the system and the pumps cannot get rid of the water fast enough, the power supply might be affected," they said.

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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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