Entire city told to brace for floods

"Floods will hit every area of Bangkok but each area will see different levels of water," director of the Flood Relief Operations Centre (FROC) Pol General Pracha Promnok said yesterday.

Pracha, who is also the justice minister, urged Bangkok residents to adjust to the situation and accept what was going to happen.

He said about 400 million cubic metres of flood water are now in an area north of Bangkok and poised to flow in.

"Bangkok's water-drainage capacity is just 30 million cubic metres a day," he pointed out.

An informed source at the BMA said the flood-water level would range between 30 centimetres and 1.5 metres across 50 districts of Bangkok.

Flooding will last for a month: BMA source "The inundation will last for about one month," it added.

The information was almost identical with what Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had said in her televised speech on Tuesday.

Yingluck said yesterday that concerned authorities would continue their efforts to protect inner Bangkok from flooding.

"We will maintain flood barriers at three key areas. If they remain well in place, not all areas of Bangkok will be affected," she said. When asked about the chances of these floodwalls crumbling, she said, it was "50 per cent".

Yingluck said all officials were doing their best and the private sector had also joined in.

Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra urged all sides to cooperate with each other to weather the flood crisis.

As of press time yesterday, many parts of the capital had already been submerged. In Don Muang district, flood water had forced the cancellation of all commercial flights from Don Mueang Airport since Tuesday. Also, portions of many key roads such as Vibhavadi Rangsit, Phaholyothin, Kamphaengphet, Songprapa, Veruvanaram, Sirin-dhorn, and Charansaniwongs were impassable to traffic. Charoen-krung Road in the heart of Bangkok is also flooded.

Several shops and department stores, including Central Plaza Pinklao, closed in the wake of inundation.

Thawi Watthana District Office director Prapat Thirapongtorn said due to the run-off water from the upper part of the country, the Mahasawas Canal would overflow and flood nearby areas today.

"I have already instructed and almost forced people living along the canal to evacuate," he said.

He said the raging flood was too serious to be controlled.

A source at the FROC said Pracha had already held video conferences with top officials of Kanchanaburi, Suphan Buri, Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Chon Buri and Nakhon Ratchasima to prepare evacuation centres for flood-hit Bangkok residents in the worst-case scenario of waters inundating the capital.

"FROC has planned to provide transfer services to those evacuation centres for flood victims. Flood-hit people can also travel to the evacuation centres on their own," the source said.

Army chief General Prayut Chan-ocha said people in Bangkok's Bang Phlat district had already been warned of the immense volume of run-off water heading their way.

"Boats will be ready to evacuate people. Those who are not willing to move out of their houses

will be told where to pick up food and water as we may not be able to deliver the food to all," he said.