Bangkok warned floods may last until new year

 

Floodwater in parts of Thailand's capital Bangkok is receding after weeks of inundation but Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and water experts said residents in some western districts could still be suffering into next year.

However, Yingluck said at a news conference with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today that Thailand would get back on track quickly and had a long-term strategy for redesigning its water management system.

"We'll recover soon," Yingluck said, adding that restoring some infrastructure could be completed within 45-90 days.

She said eastern Bangkok, where two industrial estates are still surrounded by water, should be flood-free by the end of the year but draining water from western districts was harder.

Thailand's worst flooding in at least five decades has claimed 564 lives since July, with water flowing slowly down from the north, inundating agricultural and industrial areas in the centre before swamping parts of Bangkok from late October.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also on a visit to Thailand, offered $10 million in aid, in addition to $1.1 million already offered, for humanitarian assistance, equipment and training in emergency response and disaster prevention.

"While we are focused now on the immediate needs of the Thai people, we will also be here for the long run," Clinton told a news conference.

She said Washington would "support Thailand's economic recovery as a trade, investment and development partner".

US officials would work with Thai military and civilian organisations to get the city's swamped Don Muang airport up and running to facilitate relief missions, Clinton added.

Bangkok's main Suvarnabhumi airport, which is protected by a dike about 3.5 metres high in the east of Bangkok, is operating as normal.

Anond Snidvongs, executive director of the government's Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, said residents living in certain low-lying areas in the west would have to live with water for a while longer.

"In the western area, the capacity of the drainage system was limited from the start," Anond told Reuters, adding there were also fewer canals than in the east.

"What we're trying to do is add more water pumps and control the opening and closing of sluice gates in line with the high and the low river tides, as much as possible," added Anond, who is acting as an adviser to the government.

He said some districts in western Bangkok could still escape flooding completely, and it should take only two or three weeks for main roads to dry out.

Floodwater has reached part of the low-lying Rama II Road, a main highway through the west of Bangkok to the rubber-growing south of Thailand, which has not been affected by the floods.

Most of Bangkok's central business district remains dry.

In the north of the capital, the old Don Muang airport, used mainly for internal flights, is still closed but areas to its south are starting to dry out.

An army of street cleaners was at work on the main Pahonyothin Road, disposing of trash and dead plants and removing thick layers of dirt left behind by the water.

Streets in office areas that had been deserted only a few days ago were getting back to normal, with outdoor eating areas and market stalls up and running again. Most of the cars that had been parked for weeks on elevated roads had gone.

Evacuation orders had been issued in a third of Bangkok's districts, mostly in the north of the densely populated city of 12 million people.

In the east of Bangkok, floodwater continued to surround two industrial estates but defences were holding up and some plants, including that of Honda Motor Co, were back at work.

Isuzu Motors Ltd said it planned to restart its Thai plant, halted by a shortage of parts due to the flooding, on 21 November rather than 18 November.

Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...