Bangkok near chaos, with flood mobs and drinking water shortage   2011-10-31 18:02:59 FeedbackPrintRSS

by Thaweeporn Kummetha

BANGKOK, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- As authorities have been building flood barriers to prevent inner Thailand's capital from deluge, some residents outside flood barriers, who have been living with floodwater for months, started to express their anger and tried to damage the floodgate.

So far, about 1,200 households in 13 districts in north, west and east of Bangkok have been affected by flood that entered the capital mid October, according to Disaster Prevention and Mitigation report on Monday.

The flood barriers are aimed at sparing central Bangkok, home to residences of the well-to-do, shopping malls and business area, from floodwater which is running-off from upper central plain.

The latest incident came on Sunday, continuing to Monday as about 1,000 residents living along Khlong 3 canal and Khlong 4 canal in Khlong Sam Wa district in eastern Bangkok blockaded a road to demand authorities to open Khlong Sam Wa sluice gate wider.

They claimed the narrow opening of the gate was why their community had been so badly flooded.

Thai Public Broadcasting Service (TPBS) TV channel reported that Khlong Sam Wa district has been inundated with about one- meter high floodwater from more than a month.

On Sunday night after many hours of negotiation, authority agreed to open the flood gate to 80 centimeters. The residents then dispersed to their homes. However, on Monday noon, the Khlong Sam Wa residents again gathered at the flood gate, demanding authority to open the gate another 70 centimeters. The authority insisted that they could open the gate for only five more centimeters.

However, at about 3 p.m. local time, the authority decided to open the gate to one meter high. But the residents seemed not yet satisfied as they still gathered at the floodgate.

The residents have been enduring with about one-meter high flood water for more than a month and the water have started to smell. As a result, they decided that the water must go somewhere else and people in other areas should share the trouble too, TPBS reported.

The situation is still tense and prone to violence. On Monday noon there was a brief clash between police and Khlong Sam Wa residents. There were no reports of injuries, TPBS reported.

The residents said they wanted the gate to open until the water level at their community decrease to 10-30 centimeters.

Previously, angry residents in Rangsit area in northern Bangkok fired guns into the air to drive away Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) staff who were building flood barriers there.

With angry residents threatening violence or vandalism, BMA has urged the Flood Relief Operations Command, under the government, to provide protection for authorities trying to build flood barriers. Also, Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra blamed the angry residents for failure of BMA in building flood lines, according to Thailand daily English newspaper Bangkok Post.

The country's worst floods in nearly 60 years has claimed about 380 lives and affected almost 10 million people since mid July.

Flash floods were caused by the heavy monsoon "Nock-Ten" and overflow from several dams in upper part of the country since mid July.

As area in the north, west and east of Bangkok have been inundated, people in inner Bangkok are bracing for flood.

Those who seemed to choose to stay home are hoarding food and bottled drinking water. The city is running out of bottled-water as almost none of supermarkets in Bangkok have bottled water for sale on shelves.

Some supermarkets have ordered bottled water from Malaysia to meet the high demand of drinking water in Bangkok, TPBS reported.

Some Bangkokians chose to go out of the city since last Thursday as the government announced special holiday from Oct. 27 to Oct. 31.

A resident of Chonburi, a tourist province in eastern Thailand with about two-hour drive from Bangkok, told Xinhua that traffic jam in the city were caused by cars from Bangkok and restaurants were packed with the fugitive Bangkokians who fled from the flood.

Editor: Bi Mingxin
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