News / Asia

Bangkok Prepares for Flooding That Has Swept Southeast Asia

An aerial view of the Lokayasuttharam Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand, submerged by the flood, Oct. 12, 2011
An aerial view of the Lokayasuttharam Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand, submerged by the flood, Oct. 12, 2011
Daniel Schearf

Thailand's capital, Bangkok, is scrambling to fend off flood waters bearing down on the city.  Unusually heavy rains have caused the worst flooding in decades across Southeast Asia, killing some 500 people, destroying crops and flooding homes and factories.

The Thai capital Thursday reinforced dikes holding off floodwaters that have ravaged central and northern parts of the country.

Bangkok is preparing for high water expected this weekend as run-off from those floods reach the city just as seas in the Gulf of Thailand reach high tide.

Sean Boonpracong, international spokesman for Bangkok's flood relief center, acknowledges that flooding in the capital is a possibility but says authorities are doing all they can to prevent it.

"I think there are a small risk of flooding in the outer area," said Boonpracong. "But, for now I believe it is manageable.  There has been a new operation to relieve the water."

Boonpracong says authorities are dredging canals in Bangkok’s Chao Phraya and other rivers so more water can reach the sea faster.

Thailand’s central plains were inundated by unusually heavy rains which filled hydropower dams to capacity.

Authorities were forced to release water from a few dams at once, leading rivers to burst their banks.

Smith Dhamasarojana is former director-general of Thailand's Meteorological Department. He is now chairman of the National Disaster Warning Council Foundation, a non-profit group that tries to urge Thailand and its neighbors to better prepare for disasters.  He says authorities in Thailand did not release enough water from the dams earlier in the year because they were afraid of a water shortage in the dry season.

"They mis-underestimate the amount of rainfall and they mis-underestimate how to manage the water," he said. "They cannot direct the route of water to the sea fast enough.”

Thailand is not the only country affected by the unexpected rains.  Hundreds have been killed in flooding in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Heavy crop losses are also expected in the world’s two biggest rice-exporting countries - Thailand and Vietnam.

Bhupinder Tomar is head of operations in Hanoi for the International Federation of the Red Cross.

“The biggest damage has been, as you can imagine, this being the rice production bowl of Vietnam, the biggest damage has been to economic livelihood and the losses to crops, both standing and planted, has been tremendous," said Tomar. "In fact about 7,000 hectares of rice crop has been lost completely, and total hectares lost has been about 30,000, which means about, roughly 60,000 families have been affected by these losses so far.”

Southeast Asia has had several tropical storms this monsoon season, which some analysts say may be due to rising global temperatures.

Further rain is expected in the southern part of Thailand in the coming days.

The impending waters have led to some panic buying in Bangkok grocery stores as residents stock up on bottled water and food.

Spokesman Boonpracong says despite the clearing of some market shelves there will not be any food shortages.

He says authorities have prepared emergency food and water as well as 70-some evacuation centers in case the city’s dikes are breached.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs