Oct 26 2011
Another day, another flood update for travellers. High tide is about to peak in Bangkok, and nobody is really sure how bad the inundation is about to be. Read on for a quick update on where things are at for now — it’s looking like as far as possible, travellers should plan to leave Bangkok, transit through quickly, defer travel if they can, or if they’re holidaying, divert for somewhere drier.
As reported yesterday, runoff from the north caused Bangkok’s second airport Don Muang to flood in the afternoon, and all flights were suspended. Flood victims seeking shelter in Don Muang were evacuated once more to Chon Buri. Suvarnabhumi Airport, the capital’s international airport, is still operating under a normal schedule for now, but ticket prices are on the rise and selling fast as people make last-minute plans to decamp to Chiang Mai or even as far as Singapore. Thai Airways is considering cutting down on international flights because of a shortage of staff due to the floods.
If you’re in Bangkok and looking to get out, or you arrive Thursday and Friday and want to continue out quickly, Adioso can help: try here for October 27 flights from Bangkok to anywhere, and here for flights out of Bangkok to anywhere on October 28.
Several reports of green or yellow tap water in central Bangkok have emerged, and floodanoia is on the rise; people fear for food and water shortages, contaminated water from the power plants, electricity outages, and more.
Tuesday night, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra warned citizens again of the advancing floods, and strongly suggested the floodwalls will not be able to withstand the surge. The worst case scenario, says Seri Supharatid, director of Rangsit University’s Centre on Climate Change and Disaster, is that “all parts of Bangkok will be more or less flooded.” At the time of writing, he was reported to be saying Phrakhanong and Bang Krapi floods could reach 2 metres. Ouch.
Exactly what does happen will depends on how well authorities can monitor and manage the water flow. So far, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the government have joined forces, with barely competent results and contradicting press releases. Yingluck told reporters, “We expect floodwater to remain in Bangkok for around two weeks to one month before going into the sea.”
Alas, the flooding and its potentially devastating effects are not even close to being over.
The cabinet declared a five-day public “holiday” from October 27 to 31, allowing Bangkok residents to prepare for the flood or seek refuge elsewhere. Business in Bangkok never ends, though, as the financial market remains open. The Thai Ministry of Education has delayed the start of the new semester for 1,067 schools, including international schools, until November 7. Officially, a flood vacation.
At the time of writing, latest reported shutdowns from various usually reliable sources on Twitter included Chatuchak market closing October 28 to 30, and Bangkok’s film festival will be shifted to 20-27 January 2012. Bumrungrad hospital is also reportedly suspending its outpatient department to reserve medical supplies for emergency the severely ill from October 28. Latest road closures are now listed here.
If you’re in a tight spot, you can call for Thai government assistance and information in English on 1111, extension 9.
Keep an eye on your government’s reports — the British embassy has just released an updated warning here with further useful links
High tide is on the way over the next hour — so stay tuned.
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