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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid