Bangkok remains on high alert
BANGKOK, 1 November 2011 – Bangkok Metropolitan Administration reported Tuesday that lower high tides in the Chao Phraya River estuary had eased the situation, but city residents still faced the threat of floods from run off from the northern suburbs and neighbouring provinces.
Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said the water level in the river at 2.44 metres above Mean Sea Level was below the estimated level of 2.50 metres and eased the flood threat in districts near the river.
The next round of above average high tides are due in mid-November giving the city time to prepare and deal with the imminent danger of run-off water coming mainly from northern suburbs.
The western side of the river in Thon Buri faces floods, particularly in Bang Phlat, Thawi Watthana, Taling Chan and Bang Khae.
Meanwhile, eastern suburbs are also facing increased flooding after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra gave her approval to raise the Klong Sam Wa sluice gate to one metre. Despite assurances the move could threaten housing estates and industrial parks downstream.
The decision to open the gate satisfied about 500 local residents who earlier on Monday blocked a section of Nimit Mai Road and destroyed part of the canal floodwall in Klong Sam Wa district. They were demanding the government raise the sluice gate from 80 cm to 100 cm to alleviate flooding in their district.
The overflow in Ramintra road, km1 to km 4, is now 10 to 50 cm deep making it difficult for small vehicles to pass.
Meanwhile, traffic police have closed the road tunnel underneath Bang Khen intersection after it was flooded.
Power supply to parts of Bangkok has failed namely Saphan Mai, Sai Mai and Kasetsat University’s central laboratory.
The floodwater now just 300 metres short of the Bang Khen tunnel in North Bangkok.
On Phaholyothin Road in front of the 11th Infantry Regiment, floods covered the footpath. Small vehicles could still use the middle lanes on both sides of the road. The army has moved out tanks and armoured cars from the base.
Bang Khen police station compound was under 50 cm of water.
Also, rising floods forced the police to close 25 roads in Bangkok.
Travel industry reports play down the extent of the flooding claiming it is only localised in contrast to the facts that indicate half of the city’s districts are flooded.
It generates a credibility gap between what the tourism industry would like consumers to believe and what genuine news media channels are presenting.
TTR Weekly’s assessment is that the risk of flooding in Bangkok remains for at least another two weeks. If visitors are considering a trip to the capital alone they should be aware of potential risks and inconvenience.
However, if visitors are transiting at Bangkok airport to connect with flights to destinations in the North, Northeast, South and eastern seaboard conditions are normal.
Overland travel from Bangkok to the south and north of the country is difficult due to flooding on highways leaving the capital. Travel to Pattaya and eastern seaboard resorts from Suvarnabhumi Airport is fine. Pattaya is just 90 km southeast of the airport on motorway 7.
Meanwhile, train services to the north from Bangkok resumed last Saturday, while southern train services have stopped due to flooding on the railway track.
The first Bangkok-Chiang Mai express train departed Hua Lumpong Station at 0830, while the Chiang Mai-Bangkok express train departed for the northern city at 0845. Both trains are using a line due east to avoid flooded areas before rejoining the northern line. Northern trains were suspended for a month after floods covered the tracks in Lampang, Phitsanulok, Nakhon Sawan, Lop Buri, and Ayutthaya.
To avoid the flooded Don Mueang-Ayutthaya section, SRT has re-routed trains to the east – Makkasan-Hua Mark, Chachoengsao, Klong 19, Kaeng Khoy, Ban Phachi and back to the northern line. It adds two hours to the journey.
So far, flood has been affected 63 provinces across the country but only 26 remain inundated. The latest reports confirmed 384 deaths mainly from drowning and electrocution.