Oct 19 2011
Seven outlying districts of Bangkok were told to move their belongings to higher ground Wednesday and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called for political differences to be put aside as the capital stares down the threat of inundation.
According to the BBC, a warning to move upwards or outwards went out to residents of Sai Mai, Khlong Sam Wa, Bang Khen, Nong Jok, Min Buri, Lat Krabang and Kan Na Yao after some barricades were breached.
But central Bangkok, where most travellers to the capital base themselves, has faced little damage since the start of the flooding; if it weren’t for the sloppy towers of sandbags littering footpaths and empty supermarket shelves, one might not know a natural (and arguably human-made as well) disaster looms nearby.
As reported here yesterday, flood waters are headed south, albeit slower than expected, after surging through six northern provinces, including Pathum Thani and Ayutthaya. Rama IV Bridge in Nonthaburi was shut down late Tuesday after facing serious high water levels. Read about one Nonthaburi resident’s experience of the floods here (he was evacuated from his home a few hours ago). Sections of the temporary dyke along the Rapheephat Canal were damaged, flooding several districts in Khlong Luang. Thus far, any torrents of water advancing towards the metropolitan centre have been deterred and diverted by flood barriers and deflected into the ocean. The BBC has a decent simple map here showing expected water flows.
Areas surrounding Don Muang airport have been under threat and in need of sandbag reinforcement for the flood walls, though the airport itself is operating under a normal schedule. The Air Force, however, has moved about 20 of its planes based there to other locations, though 10 aircraft have stayed to carry out relief work, the AP reports.
Bangkok’s main international airport, Suvarnabhumi, has yet to see any damage and officials have repeatedly insisted the airport will not be flooded, with an effective emergency flood prevention plan in place long before #ThaiFloodEng existed — however (and this is a big however), volunteers were called upon yesterday for frantic sandbagging efforts at Suvarnabhumi. The Stock Exchange of Thailand released a notification stating the temporary shut-down of Ladkrabang Industrial Estate, directly above Suvarnabhumi. Read into that what you will.
Some conflicting Thai government and officials’ statements are certainly leading to confusion and anger in some quarters, and people outside Bangkok are suffering and in need of help, but Bangkok itself is running smoothly. Aside from a few puddles and an absence of Maggi noodles, all is well in the city of angels. But do stay tuned.
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