Oct 11 2011
As the tides swell twice a day towards their peak this weekend, Bangkok readies sandbags, moves valuables to higher ground, and charges flashlight batteries, all the while hoping that this isn’t going to be the one.
At the moment, the river embankments are holding in most of the city — during this morning’s peak in Pathum Thani (a far northern suburb) two embankments partially collapsed, but the flooding was limited as the army scrambled to repair the leaks.
With the exception of the former royal capital Ayutthaya just north of Bangkok, the country’s top tourist destinations mostly remain outside the country’s worst affected areas — so if you’re on your way to say Phuket, you’ve no need to cancel anything just yet and you can still get out of the capital. See yesterday’s post for a few details on how to stay in touch with authorities once you are in Thailand.
All ferry services, including cross river and express ferries along the Chao Phraya River are operating as normal — just watch the motion as the waves are rough when the river is this high.
Bus transport out of Bangkok
Currently, according to a transport company official at Baw Kaw Saw (the national bus company) bus departures to the far north of Thailand are operational, however their normal paths have been rerouted to the east or west of the flooded central region.
There is currently no service to Ayutthaya, Nakhon Sawan or Phitsanulok (all basically in a line north towards Chiang Mai), but other destinations are operational. Call 1490 from within Thailand or visit one of the bus terminals at Mor Chit or Ekkamai for further information.
Train transport out of Bangkok
The train line that heads north from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is out of service from Ayutthaya north. A State Railways of Thailand representative was unable to provide an estimated date to resume service, but as he pointed out “There’s still a lot of water between here and there.” Service to the Northeast (including Nong Khai and Laos) has been rerouted, using a different path north out of Bangkok, but is basically unaffected. Service to the east, west and south is running normally.
All commercial airports are operating normally according to the Airports of Thailand (the national airport authority), with a disaster coordination centre using empty terminal space at Don Muang Airport.
However, AFP reports that workers have been bolstering flood defences at Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok’s main airport (which is as it turns out, built on a flood plain). Flood protection walls have reportedly been raised to a height of up to 3.5 metres, though officials reportedly say operations will continue as usual.
Aside from the humanitarian disaster, the economic fallout from the floods looks set to be significant, with Nikon, Toyota and Honda among the companies whose production has been affected, Reuters reports. The central bank is estimating economic losses from flooding since late July at 60 to 80 billion baht — and that’s before reconstruction costs, AP reports.
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