By Chanikarn Poomhirun,
Electricity and waterworks failures have forced the Flood Relief Operations Centre (FROC) to evacuate its Don Mueang Airport headquarters and move into the Energy Complex Building.
FROC director and Justice Minister Pracha Promnok said that at 4am yesterday the deluge crashed into the walls. The water entered the electricity generator while the tap-water system could not operate.
The FROC officers were confused as they were abruptly told to move early in the morning. However, Pracha and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra later confirmed the order.
The move to the building, which houses the Energy Ministry and is also the PTT head office, was criticised as it is on the same road – Vibhavadi-Rangsit – and also possibly flooded.
Pracha refused to say if there would be another office move, or whether the government would announce more public holidays.
“We have to consider the situation daily. We cannot clearly predict,” he said.
Pracha cited the threat from the Bang Bua Canal in Bang Khen district. The canal is part of the waterway and the surging water is likely to spill over Bangkok’s 2.50-metre-high dykes with the likelihood of water levels reaching 2.65-metres due to the high tide.
“We cannot do anything with the embankment any more. If the sea tide makes the water level 2.65 metres high, that’s 15 centimetres over [the dykes]. It’s not that we just give in, we asked the BMA to pump the water out. This is nature and out of our control. Downpour [on Friday night] also worsened the situation,” Pracha said, adding that water seeping through sewage pipes were also a problem.
Pracha said the worst crisis could be today or tomorrow when sea tides reach their highest levels.
On Wednesday, Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra told all the people to evacuate out of the Don Muang area. However, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said the FROC would stay on.
Yingluck said yesterday she had eyed the Energy Complex Building as a back-up office but planned to keep the FROC at Don Muang Airport until the high-sea tide period passes tomorrow, to prevent interruption in the centre’s work.
Both Yingluck and Pracha showed confidence in the Energy Complex Building’s security.
High sandbag walls were laid around the building whose walls were also sealed with silicon to prevent water seeping. Besides setting up water pumps, nearby sewage pipes were also cleaned. People entering the building must use the steps to cross over the 50-centimetre-high sandbag walls at the entrance.
As entry to the building requires cards, reporters could not get into the new FROC office but had to wait on the first-floor lobby of the building.