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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid