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

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs