Monday, September 16, 2019
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Protesters from flooded communities in Pathum Thani affected by the controversial big bag barrier agreed to disperse yesterday after authorities promised to speed up drainage from their waterlogged neighbourhoods.

Pathum Thani governor Kachornsak Singtokul and relevant agencies met for talks with representatives from the protesters earlier yesterday.

It was agreed the governor will take their complaints to the Flood Relief Operation Command (Froc) and the government to find ways to expedite the draining of water from their communities.

Residents from Nakhon Rangsit municipality in Pathum Thani’s Thanya Buri district are angry that their communities have been under water for more than a month and that no one has shown up to try and help them.

Irrigation Department authorities have also promised to repair three damaged water pumps from a total of 22 at Chulalongkorn sluice gate to pump water from Rangsit Prayurasak canal into the Chao Phraya River at full capacity.

Pakornpat Uatheptrakul, the protest leader, said Nakhon Rangsit municipality and local bodies lacked the capacity to cope with the massive deluge and to drain floodwater effectively.

He said the Froc must step in to ease the suffering of affected residents.

Previously, a group of angry residents from 20 housing estates in Don Muang removed sandbags from the big bag wall. The Froc and City Hall agreed to keep the gap in the barrier open to ease the suffering of affected residents.

They also agreed to widen the gap from six metres to 10 so that it could serve as a spillway to allow stagnant floodwater north of the flood wall to pass through and to function as a passage way for boat traffic in the area.

Froc spokesman Thongthong Chandrangsu said yesterday that workers and soldiers had already finished working on the big bag wall as had been agreed.

Half the 10m-wide gap in the barrier has now been repaired and will serve as a weir while the other half has been left open to allow boat traffic to pass through.

Mr Thongthong also said Don Muang residents affected by the big bag barrier were satisfied that their demands were met, although police have been sent to maintain order at the flood wall.

Air force commander, ACM Itthaporn Subhawong, yesterday said Don Mueang airport now looks like a reservoir as northern runoff on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road continues to surge onto airport land.

He said urgent steps must be taken to drain the area and at the same time ensure it will not affect local residents.

Meanwhile, Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday said the floodwater levels on Kamphaeng Phet Road, Phahon Yothin Road and in Ratchadaphisek Soi 36 (Soi Suea Yai Uthit) have dropped. The water in some areas was down to between 15-20cm.

MR Sukhumbhand, who inspected the areas yesterday, said if there is no more northern runoff, areas in Chatuchak district and the five-way Lat Phrao intersection should be dry this weekend.

In eastern Bangkok, floodwater around the Bangchan and Lat Krabang industrial estates began to recede yesterday.

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