Author Topic: Thailand calls holiday to allow escape from floods  (Read 536 times)

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Offline Johnnie F.

Thailand calls holiday to allow escape from floods
« on: October 25, 2011, 03:41:16 PM »
Thailand calls holiday to allow escape from floods

BANGKOK, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Thailand announced a five-day holiday on Tuesday to give people the chance to escape floods closing in on Bangkok as authorities ordered the evacuation of a housing estate on the outskirts of the city after a protection wall gave way.

The cabinet declared Oct. 27-31 a holiday in Bangkok and 20 other provinces affected by the country's worst flooding in 50 years as high tides in the Gulf of Thailand this weekend could complicate efforts to divert water away from the low-lying capital.

The floods have forced the closure of seven industrial estates in Ayutthaya, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani provinces bordering Bangkok, causing an estimated $3.2 billion in damage, disrupting supply chains and putting about 650,000 people temporarily out of work.

The cabinet announced a 225 billion baht ($7.3 billion) budget on Tuesday to help those estates recover once the flooding subsidies.

The floods have killed at least 366 people since mid-July and disrupted the lives of nearly 2.5 million, with more than 113,000 living in temporary shelters and 720,000 seeking medical attention.

Bangkok's two main airports remained open on Tuesday but budget carrier Nok Air, majority owned by Thai Airways International Pcl , said it had stopped domestic flights from the Don Muang airport with immediate effect until Nov. 1.

Thai Airways said it was considering reducing the number of its own flights from the main Suvarnabhumi airport due to possible staffing problems.

Parts of Don Muang, Lak Si and Sai Mai districts in northern Bangkok have been under water since Saturday. The government's flood crisis centre is based in Don Muang and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Tuesday it may have to relocate.

The centre instructed residents on the Muang Ake housing estate in northern Bangkok to evacuate on Tuesday after a flood protection wall in nearby Pathum Thani province was breached, adding to tension in the capital, where residents have fortified their homes and hoarded stocks of food and water.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra issued a new flood warning late on Monday for Bang Phlad district, west of the Chao Phraya river and closer to the commercial heart of the capital.

Bang Phlad is home to department stores, universities and hospitals. Siriraj Hospital, where Thailand's revered king has been for more than two years, is nearby.


Government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisang said the holiday had been called due to the high tides and to give residents the option of leaving Bangkok. Sukhumbhand said the holiday would allow the authorities to handle the crisis better.

The authorities opened most canal gates in Bangkok late last week, a high-risk operation aimed to take pressure off defensive walls in the north and divert water around the east and west of the capital into the sea but raised the risk of inner-city flooding.

At least eight million cubic metres of water is being pumped out, but with the Chao Phraya River at record levels, the risk of flooding in the heart of Bangkok remains high, especially if heavy rain returns at a time when the sea tide is high.

The Meteorological Department forecast scattered showers in the capital on Tuesday and Wednesday after three dry days.

Hundreds of people were evacuated over the weekend as water in the residential suburbs of Lak Si and Don Muang reached levels as high as two metres (six feet), spilling out of swollen canals and rivers. Several crocodiles have been killed or captured in swamped residential areas of Ayutthaya.

A Bank of Thailand official said no decision had yet been taken on whether commercial banks and financial markets would be closed for the holiday. The central bank's headquarters is by the Chao Phraya river but it has high walls and there were no signs of flooding there on Tuesday.

At least 227 bank branches have been forced to close by floods, most of them in the provinces north of Bangkok.

The central banks of Japan and Thailand said on Tuesday they were looking at a mechanism to offer funds in baht backed by Japanese government bonds to help affected Japanese firms. The Bank of Thailand also said it was discussing similar plans with other countries.

Big Japanese firms such as Toyota Motor Corp , Sony Corp and Nikon Corp have had to close down operations in Thailand.

A Bank of Japan official said Japanese banks and companies were not experiencing trouble getting funds in Thailand.

Fun is the one thing that money can't buy

Offline Johnnie F.

Re: Thailand calls holiday to allow escape from floods
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2011, 03:47:04 PM »
Holidays for the rest of the week? I guess people in my village can use that well for sleeping, since they had been celebrating Kathin the last couple of days. In the daytime sitting in the wat praying and making donations, in the evening and night celebrating with their relatives again in Isaan style, practicing Karaoke through the night.
Fun is the one thing that money can't buy

Offline thaiga

Re: Thailand calls holiday to allow escape from floods
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2011, 04:20:54 PM »
Dont think for one minute you are on your own.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.