People on riverside should evacuate: Bangkok governor

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BANGKOK, Oct 25 – Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra on Tuesday reiterated that the flooding situation in the Thai capital is now critical as the water level in the Chao Phraya River has risen to its highest level in more than a decade, since 1995.

Mr Sukhumbhand urged riverside residents and those in areas closely connected to the river to evacuate to government-provided temporary shelters due to the expected high tides this weekend, combined with another deluge of water from the North which will arrive at the capital beginning tomorrow.

The governor said that given the existing timeframe, it would be impossible to reinforce flood-prevention dykes covering all riverside areas in time as more time and an estimated ten million more sandbags are needed.

Mr Sukhumbhand said that workers at best can reinforce the dykes only in some locations such as Siriraj Hospital and the Grand Palace, while at the same time protecting Don Mueang Airport, housing the headquarters of the government’s Flood Relief Operations Centre (FROC).

The governor said that City Hall is confident that its protective operations at Lat Krabang and Bangchan industrial estates will be successful as government officers are directing workers, speeding up reinforcement of the 39-kilometre dykes to prevent flooding in those areas.

Meanwhile, the governor of the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority on Tuesday advised Bangkokians to reserve tap water in case electricity system is disrupted during the flooding.

Governor Charoen Patsara said the current flooding sometimes disables the waterworks but the agency is now able to control the situation.

Regarding the quality of tap water, Mr Charoen affirmed the production process of tap water is meeting standards of the World Health Organisation and concerned scientists have regularly examined and improved the water quality by adding air and some water purification and treatment chemicals.

Mr Charoen assured the public that they can safely consume the tap water.

The governor expressed concern, however, that high level of floodwater may disrupt the distribution of electricity by the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) which will also affect the use of water, particularly those living in high-rise buildings which depend on pumped water.

“People using water pumps should closely monitor the news and reserve some tap water,” Mr Charoen noted.