News / Asia

Thai PM Warns Swollen River Could Flood Inner Bangkok

A woman and her dogs sit in a boat as they are evacuated from a flooded area in Bangkok October 26, 2011.
A woman and her dogs sit in a boat as they are evacuated from a flooded area in Bangkok October 26, 2011.

Bangkok residents are bracing for rising flood waters that the prime minister says could inundate low-lying areas in the coming days.  Although most of the capital is still dry, the prime minister is urging people near the city’s Chao Phraya River to move to higher ground.

A surge of flood water from the north and east is expected to arrive in Bangkok Thursday, straining the city’s flood barriers and drainage canals.

Thai Navy Deployed

The Thai navy has deployed a fleet of ships to the Chao Praya and other rivers, where they are using their propellers to try to speed the flow of water through the city to the sea.

"It helps a lot. From what I calculated, usually the water in Klong Lat Po is around 500 cubic meters per second," Navy Captain Prasert Chanprapak. With more than 10 vessels here, it can increase the water flow to more than a thousand cubic meters per second."

Chanprapak says with 10 vessels in one location, he believes the flow of water has been doubled.

But Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra says that, despite the navy efforts and constant reinforcement of the embankments, she is no more than 50 percent certain that the city will be spared.

In a televised address Tuesday evening, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced parts of central Bangkok could soon be under water.

She says, despite efforts to divert and drain flood waters away from the capital, the volume of water is more than they can handle.

She says if flood barriers collapse or the coastal tide is higher than expected, inner Bangkok will be flooded. She says, because  different areas of Bangkok have different heights, flooding in the capital would range in depth from a low of 10 centimeters up to one and a half meters.

One test will be whether flood barriers around the perimeter of the city’s more heavily populated areas can successfully divert flood waters away from the downtown. If the barriers hold, communities outside the dikes are expected to be under as much as 1.5 meters of water.

The other worry is the Chao Phraya River that runs through the heart of the city to the Gulf of Thailand.

Run-off from northern flood waters already has raised the river to its highest level in years.  At high tide during the expected flood surge, Thursday, authorities say the river could rise above flood walls that line its banks, spilling into the city.

The prime minister warned residents living along the river to move to higher ground.

She says the areas of highest risk in Bangkok are those along the Chao Phraya’s banks, including those along and outside of flood prevention walls.

The prime minister’s comments came just hours after flood waters entered Bangkok’s main domestic airport, Don Muang, forcing authorities to cancel all flights.

The airport was also being used as the government’s flood relief and command center and to house thousands of flood evacuees.

They were being evacuated further south, but the prime minister Wednesday said authorities will  continue to use the airport to coordinate flood prevention and relief efforts.

You May Like

Obama: Action on Climate Change 'Economic, Security Imperative'

President spoke to reporters on sidelines of UN Climate Summit outside Paris, where leaders are working to agree on binding measures

IMF Bets on China’s Resolve to Reform

IMF announcement already raising questions about just how much Beijing is committed to such reforms

UNICEF: Hidden Epidemic of HIV Among Adolescents

Researchers warn that Asia Pacific nations facing sharp rise in incidence of HIV among adolescents

This forum has been closed.
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.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs