Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thailand\'s death toll from weeks of flooding hits 381

Bangkok, October 30, 2011(Tehelkanews)

Thailand\'s death toll from the worst floods in decades rose to 381 Sunday as Bangkok braced for the tail end of the deluge, government officials said.

This year\'s wet season has been unusually heavy, triggering floods nationwide and swelling the northern reservoirs past capacity.

The government was forced to release water from the Bhumibol and Sirikit reservoirs in early October, sending an avalanche of water into the Chao Phraya river that has flooded the central plains and is now creeping into Bangkok en route to the sea.

Sections of the capital, especially those in the north and areas on the banks of the Chao Phraya, were underwater Sunday. Much of central Bangkok was still dry.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Saturday urged residents to be patient and not destroy dykes, insisting the waters will recede soon. \"The situation should improve after Monday,\" she said. \"I believe we will be able to restore normalcy in a short time.\"

Estimates of the amount of water threatening the metropolis vary between 4,000 million to 15,000 million cubic metres. Bangkok has a drainage capacity of about 200-300 million cubic metres per day, meaning it would take weeks or months, Anond Snidvongs, director of the Geoinformatics and Space Technology Development Agency, told the Bangkok Post.

Efforts by authorities to keep the floodwaters out of inner Bangkok, the centre for government offices, business, embassies and retail outlets, have been hampered this weekend by the high tide, which slows the discharge of the Chao Phraya river into the sea.

Neighbourhoods along the river were flooded up to a metre deep, especially Chinatown and the west bank, known as Thonburi. The river embankment can withstand a water level below 2.5 metres.

On Saturday, during the high tides in the Gulf of Thailand, the level reached 2.57 metres. On Sunday it was expected to reach 2.65 metres, making more floods in the city likely.

\"As for inner Bangkok, there is a possibility in the worse-case-scenario that there will be flooding of between 10 centimetres to 1.5 metres,\" said Justice Minister Pracha Promnok, who heads the Flood Relief Operations Centre (FROC).

The Royal Irrigation Department on Saturday said if no more barriers rupture through November 6, central Bangkok could escape flooding.

Districts in northern Bangkok started flooding October 22, but the run-off from two months of flooding that began in northern Thailand was moving slowly into other parts of city. In satellite maps, central Bangkok appeared as an island surrounded by floods slowly draining south into the Gulf of Thailand.

Don Mueang Airport, which handles some domestic flights, has been closed for a week because of the floods, but Suvarnabhumi International Airport remained operational Sunday.

\"The FROC is confident that the government will be able to protect Suvarnabhumi from the flooding,\" Mr. Pracha told foreign diplomats. But he added that the U-Tapao Airport in Chonburi, 130 kilometres south-east of Bangkok, had been put on standby to handle international flights should Suvarnabhumi be inundated.

FROC, set up on October 8 to coordinate the government\'s flood relief efforts, was forced to move its office from Don Mueang to the Petroleum Authority of Thailand building on Saturday.

Damages have been estimated at 140 billion baht (4.6 billion dollars) to 500 billion baht (16.6 billion).

The central bank has lowered its gross domestic product forecast for 2011 due to the disaster, from 4.6 per cent growth to 2.6 per cent, assistant governor Paiboon Kittisrikangwan said.

News From:

No comments:

eXTReMe Tracker