News / Asia

    Thai Flooding Closes Bangkok Airport

    An Air Force officer rides his motorcycle through a flooded Paholyothin road near Don Muang airport in Bangkok, Thailand, October 25, 2011.
    An Air Force officer rides his motorcycle through a flooded Paholyothin road near Don Muang airport in Bangkok, Thailand, October 25, 2011.
    Ron Corben

    Rising floodwaters reached Bangkok’s domestic Don Muang airport Tuesday, hub for the Thai capital’s flood relief efforts and a shelter for thousands of residents who had to flee their inundated homes outside of the city.

    As water spilled over airport barriers, airlines suspended operations and authorities made preparations to move thousands of evacuees to another rescue center south of the capital. Continued flooding may keep the main depot from flying emergency supplies to inundated areas in northern Thailand.

    Bhitchit Rattakul, director of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center and a former Bangkok city governor, says authorities are struggling to channel floodwaters into a series of inner-city canals so it can bypass the capital and reach the sea. But connecting the floodways requires cooperation between government entities.

    "We must manage to let both sides, the central government and the local [Bangkok city] government, build a barrier beneath the Don Muang airport and direct it to the Premprachakorn Canal," he said. "[In the] lower part of Bangkok and Bangkaen, before arriving at the Victory Monument, there’s [already] lots of [water-engineering] systems built up ready to cope with the water."

    Thailand’s most severe flooding in five decades has already inundated more than two-thirds of the country and killed more than 360 people, destroying crops and infrastructure. Government officials say 2.5 million people have been affected.

    On Tuesday Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra met with the opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, who pledged his moral support to the government during the crisis.

    Yingluck's fledgling government has already faced criticism for its handling of the flood crisis, and public opinion polls indicate rising anger over the political infighting.

    The Cabinet meanwhile has approved more than $8 billion in loans to help flooded manufacturers, small and medium enterprises and independent businesses. Economists say the economic losses, including damage to major industrial estates, could exceed $6 billion.

    The government has declared four days of public holidays at the end of the month to help communities recover and accepted assistance from United States, Japan, China and Australia.

    Australian Ambassador James Wise says he is optimistic Thailand will recover but there are concerns over medium-term health issues.

    "I think Thailand [has the] capacity to cope with these sorts of things and at least make sure no-one goes hungry, that people that need medical treatment ... get medical treatment," said Wise. "They are responding pretty well. It’s a big clean-up operation. The health issues will change. The rain is still falling and its early stage of the flood, the water is moving. As it subsides, there will be more stagnant water and with that will come health problems."

    Public health officials say so far some 750,000 people have been affected by water-borne skin infections. The longer-term concerns lie with the threat of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever.

    Across Southeast Asia, the monsoon season has led to almost 800 deaths, especially in Cambodia and Thailand, but also in Burma, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines. The United Nations says aid workers are struggling to help more than 8 million people across the region, with thousands still receiving little or no assistance.


    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora