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City to be dry by New Year, says Yingluck

Posted by arnon_k On December - 4 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS


Five out of seven flooded industrial estates are now dry, while flooded areas in Bangkok and nearby provinces will be dry by the New Year, says Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The flood situation was improving, she told her weekly radio programme yesterday, although the opposition was quick to criticise her for underestimating the crisis.

Opposition and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) _ which will meet this week to decide whether to disband, now that the “emergency phase” of the floods is over _ appeared to be paying too little attention to flood victims.

He said the government was telling the public the flooding was about to end. “But in reality, it’s not true.”

The government should give flood-hit residents more detailed information, and pay more attention to conflicts between people over big bag barriers and dykes.

Several housing estates in Bangkok’s nearby provinces were still flooded, and some parts of northern Bangkok under chest-high water, he said.

He will ask the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to move unused sand bags in dry areas to those flooded estates.

Ms Yingluck, however, focused on what the government had achieved.

She said floodwater has been pumped out of five industrial estates in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani provinces. The five are Rojana Industrial Park, Hi Tech Industrial Estate, Bang Pa-in industrial Estate, Factory Land Industrial Estate in Ayutthaya and Bangkadi Industrial Park in Pathum Thani.

That leaves two flood-hit estates, Saha Rattana Nakorn Industrial Estate in Ayutthaya and Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate in Pathum Thani, which are still submerged.

Ms Yingluck said Industry Minister Wannarat Channukul has informed her that floodwater would be drained out of the two estates by Dec 20.

After that, manufacturers in those estates will import machinery and resume production.

Most factories in the Hi Tech estate and 40 factories in the Factory Land estate resumed production on Thursday.

The Froc was working with local agencies to speed up water drainage in Bangkok, so the eastern districts could be dry by month’s end. People living along major roads and business areas in several flooded districts in eastern Bangkok had been able to resume their normal routines.

In areas that remain flooded such as Lak Hok, Don Muang, Chaeng Watthana, Lam Luk Ka, authorities were trying to drain floodwater as quickly as possible.

Neighbourhoods above the big bag barrier are now dry, while water levels in the Rangsit Prayoonsak canal have fallen. The barrier is no longer necessary.

Froc will gradually remove the big bag barrier, but it will consult people living along the barrier in advance.

Thon Buri, on the western side of Bangkok, would be dry by the end of December as well. However, it will take up to three weeks to drain floodwater from Phutthamonthon 4, Phutthamonthon 5 and Om Noi areas.

All areas in Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi provinces will be dry by New Year.

Some major canals, such as Phra Phimon canal, are still overflowing, though water levels in the Chao Phraya are likely to fall next week.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday said he expected all flooded major roads in Bangkok would return to normal by month’s end.

MR Sukhumbhand said he also ordered that two sluice gates in Min Buri and Klong Sam Wa districts be widened by 10cm to help speed up water drainage from Pathum Thani.

Meanwhile, flood-hit residents in soi Pracha Uthit in tambon Kukot of Pathum Thani’s Lam Luk Ka district gathered yesterday to call on Froc to drain waist-deep floodwater out of their area.

Govt urged to build B200bn flood tunnel

Posted by arnon_k On December - 1 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The Thailand Underground and Tunnelling Group has suggested the government invest around 200 billion baht to build a 100km-long tunnel under the eastern section of the outer ring road to prevent future flooding in and around the capital.

Suchatvee Suwansawat, TUTG chairman, yesterday said the proposed tunnel should be built from Bang Pa-in in Ayutthaya to Samut Prakan province.

The project, which could be completed in two years, will help drain water in Lum Luk Ka district of Pathum Thani to the Gulf of Thailand.

The tunnel would be designed as a double-deck underground structure, called a multi-service flood tunnel system, and would also be equipped with hydropower generators for power production, Assoc Prof Suchatvee said.

The upper deck would be used as a road under normal conditions when there were no floods or during minor and moderate flooding.

The lower deck would be used as a flood drain during normal situations or during minor or moderate flooding.

During major floods, the upper deck would be closed to traffic and turned into a floodway to help speed up the drainage of run-off.

Assoc Prof Suchatvee said a similar system should also be considered for the western part of Bangkok.

Large tunnels would be practical, more effective and so the best solution to prevent major flooding over the long run.

Prasong Tarachai, former president of the Engineering Institute of Thailand said the underground flood prevention tunnel system should be built from Nakhon Sawan.

He also suggested integrating 20 state agencies involved in the water management system and creating a more accurate water information system.

“City planning should be revised to include floodways,” he said. “Regulations should be drawn up to specify areas which are reserved as floodways. The floodwater normally flows through these areas for only three months each year, between October and December.

“The people living in the floodways should be properly compensated for allowing water to flow through their land. This should include their expenses in having to modify or lift their homes to avoid possible damage from the water.”

The TUTG will hold the 64-nation World Tunnel Congress 2012 and its 38th General Assembly General Assembly of International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association in Bangkok between May 18 and May 23, at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center under the theme “Tunnelling and Underground Space for Global Society”.

Court finishes hearing Nonthaburi flood case

Posted by arnon_k On November - 30 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The Administrative Court yesterday finished its hearing on the case in which people from Nonthaburi complained about the negative impacts on their lives of flood relief measures.

The court will deliver its verdict to the complainants by phone or fax at a date yet to be determined.

The residents’ group filed the complaint with the court last Wednesday against the government’s Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).

They said the Froc’s decision to place flood barriers along Highway 340 and Kanchanaphisek Road to protect inner Bangkok and the BMA’s refusal to open sluice gates to receive floodwater from Nonthaburi caused them hardship because the barriers and sluice gates prevented floodwater drainage.

Lead complainant Tossiri Poonnuan, 50, said although the floods were easing in Nonthaburi, her complaint was aimed at prompting authorities to solve floods for the general public without discriminating between people in different areas.

Chatchawal Panyawatheenant, deputy director-general of the Irrigation Department, who represented the Froc in the hearing yesterday, said big sandbags were placed only one some parts of Highway 340 and there were other channels to drain floodwater from Nonthaburi.

Poll: Froc most disappointing

Posted by arnon_k On November - 27 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The Flood Relief Operations Command (Froc) is the most disappointing agency in the flood relief operations, Suan Dusit Poll revealed on Sunday.

The poll was conducted during Nov 22-26 on 2,506 people throughout the country.

Asked what disappointed them the most in the flood relief operations, the majority or 53.09 per cent pointed to Froc, citing its poor assistance and public relations, 24.22 per cent disapproved of sand bags being removed, and 22.69 per cent complained about not receiving relief supplies.

Asked who were to blame for inefficiency, 51.03 per cent pointed to Froc, 25.27 per cent to government agencies, and 23.70 per cent to MPs and local politicians.

Asked about politicians who impressed them the most regarding flood assistance, 39.20 per cent were for Yingluck Shinawatra, 25.87 per cent for Abhisit Vejjajiva, 21.33 per cent for MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra, and 13.60 per cent for Chuwit Kamolvisit.