Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha hands out relief bags to flood-affected |residents during his visit to Ayutthaya
By Tanatpong Kongsai,
BANGKOK Metropolitan Administration (BMA) offices in the districts of Don Muang, Lak Si, Sai Mai, Bang Khen and Chatuchak were told to remove obstacles that blocked water drainage via the Bang Khen, Bang Pho and Bang Sue sluice gates, deputy governor Amor
These sluice gates have a combined capacity to drain 14 million cubic metres of water via the Klong Premprachakorn canal, but floodwaters cannot reach the gates due to many obstacles on the way, he said.
This short-term solution was assigned to the five district offices and the BMA Department of Drainage and Sewerage at a meeting on Tuesday following severe flooding, especially in northern Bangkok, on Monday, he said. The floods were triggered by more than 140 millimetres of rain.
Though most flooded areas were cleared by 4 to 7pm, Amorn said Chaeng Wattana Road, Ngam Wong Wan Road and Tesabansongkhro posed particular difficulties.
As a long-term solution, the department will build the 13.5km-long Premprachakorn Drainage Tunnel, he said. The other drainage tunnel at Klong Bang Sue, set to be completed next March, will help remove some water that would otherwise pour into Klong Premprachakorn, he said, so flooding in the North of Bangkok should be less next year.
Meanwhile, the Bangkok City Council yesterday pressed BMA executives to come up with a plan to tackle rainfall, northern runoffs and seasonal inflow of seawater.
Amorn told the council that temporary barriers would be built in two spots outside the already existing flood barriers along the Chao Phraya River and the BMA would work with the Royal Irrigation Department to implement flood-tackling measures.
In the meantime, acting BMA permanent secretary Ratchaneewan Assawathitanon inspected the flood-prone area between Soi Bearing and Soi Lasalle as well as Sukhumvit Soi 39.
In Ayutthaya’s Sena district, 2,000 villagers welcomed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as he visited flood-affected residents in Tambon Ban Pan yesterday.
He said his visit to Ayutthaya and later to Chai Nat province was to ensure people could prepare for the future and farmers would have a better quality of life. He added that water management was a nationwide issue that required a balanced management approach, otherwise the capital would be flooded again. The premier also said that some people have to make sacrifices for the sake of the majority.
Prayut added that water-management authorities would see which areas should be used for flood drainage and affected farmers would be compensated according to the damages incurred. He also said that the renting of rice fields was being regulated to stop investors taking advantage of farmers.
Yesterday, the Meteorological Department warned that persistent rainfall was likely in Upper Thailand with isolated heavy thundershowers in most areas apart from the coast on the Southeast. Bangkok and its vicinity face isolated heavy showers in the afternoon and evening, the department said.
In Nonthaburi’s Muang district, residents of Prachaniwet 3 housing estate called on the authorities to help ease flooding caused by clogged drains.
Long-time resident Suang Khrangthamniam, 76, explained that the estate has been suffering from frequent floods since a wastewater treatment facility was built at the site of a 17-rai pond, which used to retain floodwater.
“An hour of rain can lead to 40-centimetre-deep floods and it takes eight hours to drain. We want the Nakhon Nonthaburi Municipality to resolve this problem,” she said.
Mayor Somneuk Thanadechakul said the Chao Phraya River in Nonthaburi was rising due to runoffs of 1,500 cubic metres per second and sandbag barriers have been piled up to counter this.
Persistent heavy rain has caused flooding in low areas including Prachaniwet 2, 3 and 4 housing estates, he said, and pumps were installed at heavily flooded spots with 40 more set aside as back-up.
It took four hours to drain floods caused by two hours of heavy rain because the river was so high that they could not open sluice gates, he said.