News / Asia

    Thai Officials Optimistic Flooding Will Not Reach 2011 Levels

    A general view of a flooded town in Sukhothai province in north of Bangkok, Thailand, September 12, 2012
    A general view of a flooded town in Sukhothai province in north of Bangkok, Thailand, September 12, 2012
    Ron Corben
    The Thai government says it is confident there will be no repeat of the country’s devastating floods of 2011 that claimed more than 800 lives and devastated the economy. But, although the government is confident - analysts say the flood management plans are unclear and the government needs to better inform local communities vulnerable to potential floods.
     
    Thai Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi Wednesday said he remained confident Bangkok will avoid a repeat of the devastating floods of 2011 with rainfall sharply lower from last year.
     
    Major dams in the northern and central plains of Thailand are 50 percent lower than last year and at the ready to hold back more runoff from the annual monsoon rains.
     
    Pladprasop’s comments come as floods engulfed the ancient city of Sukhothai, 400 kilometers north of Bangkok ,after waters breached walls and dykes there.  
     
    On national media, local residents were seen wading waste deep through brown waters, carrying a few precious belongings.
     
    The 2011 floods were Thailand's most severe in five decades claiming 815 lives, affecting 13.6 million people and costing the economy $45 billion. Major industrial zones were hard hit, but have built major flood walls to prevent a repeat of the inundation.
     
    The government has also set aside $11.2 billion for flood prevention programs. But analysts say the heavy spending has raised fears of abuse and corruption.
     
    Last month, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra set out the government’s policy for further flood prevention that includes forest and plantation restoration, water retention areas, dredging of shallow canals and improving early warning systems.
     
    Analysts remain cautious over the plans.  Danai Thaitukoo, a lecturer in architecture at Chulalongkorn University, says the flooding of Sukhothai raises questions over the plan’s preparedness.
     
    “I’m not sure that what is the plan, what is the focus of any plan, if they have one and the area like Ayutthaya start to see the water and I think Sukhothai - I think the flood walls failed - so the city of Sukhothai is flooded again - And I’m not sure the outer area might have the same problem," said Danai. "[We have] Yet to see what happens is like we don’t have any plan - we’re not really prepared, not really.”
     
    Thailand’s 2011 floods led to bitter political infighting. Local communities still protest, seeking compensation. The government of Prime Minister Yingluck battled about strategy with Bangkok’s city government led by Governor Sukhumband Paribatra.
     
    Retired meteorologist Samith Dharmasaroja a former member of the government’s flood prevention committee, is calling for greater use of science and long-term weather forecasting in the planning and policy process.
     
    “I think the government goes ahead in the wrong way because, in order to make flood prevention or to make a flood forecast or making a plan to operate the flood system, you have to know first hand, you have to know the meteorological situation in this area,” said Samith.
     
    Samith says the policy needs greater attention to long and medium-term weather forecasting. But Samith supports the government position there will be no repeat of the level of floods of 2011. But he warns that, because of El Nino weather patterns, Thailand is likely to face drought in the coming months.
     
    Architects and city planners blame poor city planning and over-development around Bangkok resulting in flood waters being blocked from the sea for last year's floods.

    You May Like

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    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.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.