News / Asia

Thai Flood Waters Reach Bangkok Airport After Government Warning

A man discards water from his house as water overflows from the Chao Phraya river to the street at Phranakhon district in Bangkok, October 24, 2011
A man discards water from his house as water overflows from the Chao Phraya river to the street at Phranakhon district in Bangkok, October 24, 2011

Floodwaters that devastated parts of northern and central Thailand have reached one of the capital’s two main airports, where the government has its main flood relief center. Thai authorities have said Don Muang airport in northern Bangkok has not been affected, but warned six central districts of the city to prepare for flooding, including the airport.  

Eyewitnesses say flood waters are within meters of Bangkok’s main domestic airport, Don Muang, in a northern district that goes by the same name. Though the water at the airport is only shoe deep, it is expected to rise.

Run-off from weeks of record flooding in Thailand's northern and central plains has been swelling the city's canals and Bangkok's Chao Phraya River. Authorities have struggled to contain spill-overs and leaks by reinforcing dikes.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, October 23, 2011.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, October 23, 2011.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra has warned residents of six districts, including Don Muang, they could soon be flooded and should move to higher ground.

Thai authorities have been using the airport to coordinate flood-relief and prevention efforts, raising the embarrassing possibility that they too could be flooded.

But flood-relief spokesman Sean Boonpracong told VOA the airport should be safe and they have no need to leave for now.

“The water will come in with a certain characteristic of this type of level and then build a certain amount of depth at the level, which will take some time," said Boonpracong. "There will probably be a bit overnight. That front of the mass of water would move much much further before the level go way, way, way up. And, that will take at least two days. We are aware of the situation and we will make a decision accordingly.”

One of the airport's passenger terminals is also being used to house hundreds of people evacuated from flooded houses.

Pontipat Chansurawong, 47, and her four family members fled their home in Rangsit, just north of Bangkok. She says they have been living in the airport for two days and will not return until the waste-deep waters recede.

“Until it is normal. No water. Maybe one or two months. Later, I do not know. Now, I do not know about the future,” she said.

It is not only people who lost their homes and have to live at the airport.

A makeshift animal shelter at Don Muang houses about 100 dogs, cats, and other animals. 

“Yes, we have plenty of food," said Dr. Aphiradi, a volunteer veterinarian, who says their greatest challenge is space. "But the thing that we are lacking is the place for the dog, the kennel. Because we have the problem with the big dog.”

The airport has reached its capacity for evacuees, and despite their losses they are still working to keep their spirits up.

Two families with small children dance together near a speaker playing music.

More than 100,000 people are living in similar evacuation centers in Thailand. They know it could be days or even weeks before they return to their normal lives.

More rain is expected and high tide at the end of the month could slow down draining of flood waters into the sea. The floods are the worst in decades and have cost more than 350 lives and an estimated $6 billion.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More