Historic Ayutthaya on alert for this year’s floods

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AYUTTHAYA, Aug 31 – Thailand’s leading historic site, the former Siamese capital of Ayutthaya, 76km north of Bangkok, has been busily protecting its ancient remains for inundation after last year’s massive floods that submerged the province.

Saharat Poomtitirat, a senior official of the Thai government’s Fine Arts Department in Ayutthaya, said Thursday that flood prevention work for 96 historic remains are 80 per cent finished.

If this year’s floodwater level does not exceed 2.2 metres, Ayutthaya should be safe, he said.

With an allocated budget of Bt167 million, workers have have busily strengthened the bases of the 96 designated historic remains, especially at major temples such as Wat Chai Wattanaram, Wat Mahatat, Wat Phra Sri Sanpetch and Wat Rajburana.

At the most revered Wat Chai Wattanaram, a concrete wall has yet to be erected on the west side. During last year’s massive floods, the temple suffered an influx of water after the previous wall was damaged by floods.

Ayutthaya Governor Vittaya Piewpong led a group of officials to cruise the Chaophya River to inspect dredging which is now 80 per cent finished and should be complete by Sept 15.

The dredging will enable the river to carry at least two million cubic metres of water, boosting its capacity from the previous 1.6 million cubic metres.