Bloomberg News

Bangkok Officials Say Thai Flood Threat Easing as Waters Recede

November 13, 2011

Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Bangkok officials said floodwaters receded further in areas north and east of the Thai capital, easing concern that flooding will spread to the city’s business and tourist districts.

A 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) wall of sandbags has slowed the flow of water into northern districts, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration said today on its website. Floodwaters are still threatening Thonburi on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River, the BMA said.

Authorities are maintaining a series of canals, dikes and sandbag barriers to divert a slow-moving pool of water around Bangkok, which sits on the southern tip of a river basin that empties into the Gulf of Thailand. Water released from dams and higher-than-average rainfall swamped hundreds of factories north of the city last month, crippling global supply chains.

Floodwaters in most of Bangkok should recede over the next two weeks if protective barriers hold and no significant volume of water flows toward the city, Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said yesterday.

At least 533 people have been killed since late July, when monsoon rains began lashing Thailand. Flooding worsened last month, when rainfall about 40 percent more than the annual average filled dams north of Bangkok to capacity, prompting authorities to release more than 9 billion cubic meters of water down a river basin the size of Florida.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday said there was a “slim” chance that the four-month-old flood crisis will worsen, as floods recede in provinces north of Bangkok and the city’s defenses hold.

Nakohn Sawan, Ayutthaya

The provinces of Nakhon Sawan, 218 kilometers (135 miles) north of Bangkok, and Ayutthaya, 78 kilometers from the capital, began flooding in early August. Waters eventually rose as high as 3 meters (9.8 feet) in Ayutthaya and took as long as three weeks to reach Bangkok’s outskirts.

Waters more than a meter deep have moved south through Bangkok over recent weeks, forcing the closure on Oct. 25 of the Don Mueang airport, which sits on the city’s northern edge and mostly handles domestic flights. Floodwaters have reached as far south as Mo Chit, a station on the inner-city rail network known as the Skytrain.

Suvarnabhumi Airport and public transport links are still operating normally. The airport’s perimeter is protected by a 3.5-meter-high dike, according to Airports of Thailand Pcl.

--Editors: Tony Jordan, Paul Tighe

To contact the reporter on this story: Supunnabul Suwannakij in Bangkok at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at

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