Big sandbags to stem northern overflow to capital

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BANGKOK, Nov 2 – In an attempt to curb the deluge from the north from overflowing into inner Bangkok, operations using 2.5 tonne sandbags are up and running with the levee length to be extended to five kilometres at Chulalongkorn sluice gate and expected to be finished by tomorrow, according to Transport Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat.

The action is expected to reduce water overflowing into two key roads, Phaholyothin and Vibhavadi, as well as Khlong Prapa, the main source of tap water in the capital and neighbouring provinces, he said.

Don Mueang Airport, the city’s old airport on Vibhavadi Road, was forced to close operations and domestic flight services after weeks of being submerged under more than one metre deep water. The government’s Flood Relief Operations Centre, which used the airport as its base, was relocated to Ministry of Energy headquarters.

Deputy Bangkok Governor Pornthep Thechapaiboon said he hoped that the situation would improve by Friday if the operations finish as scheduled.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa reiterated the need to speed up salvaging flooded Don Mueang airport by Friday to restore the country’s image. The Royal Thai Air Force, he said, was the main agency tasked to coordinate with Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to carry out the mission.

The Royal Thai Army would be asked to lend a helping hand if needed.