Wide areas of Bangkok, Thailand, were flooded on 21 June after a period of heavy rain across the city.
The flooding brought traffic to a standstill forced some schools and businesses to close. Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) Director-General Chatchai Promlert said that heavy rains during the evening of 20 June caused flooding in 36 areas of Bangkok, leaving streets under 60cm of water in some areas.
Bangkok Governor M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra said that although the rain was short lived, the rainfall was as much as 200 mm and the highest for over 25 years.
Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) had reported that a low pressure area over northern Vietnam and Cambodia would result in heavy rainfall in Thailand’s northeastern, central and southern regions on 21 June 2016.
According to TMD figures, 141.5 mm of rain was recorded in 24 hours to 21 June in Bangkok. Five locations across the city recorded over 100mm of rain during that period, including Taling Chan District. Further rain and thunder storms have been forecast for the next 5 days at least. Late June to early July usually marks the start of the rainy season for Bangkok.
Thai News Agency NNT say that the flood water from 21 June has since started to recede and conditions are retuning to normal as officials work to drain water from the remaining flooded areas. Teams from DDPM, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the Royal Thai Army, the Royal Thai Police, and the Office of the Vocational Education Commission are working to drain the flood water.
Piecemeal Drainage System Improvements
The Prime Minister has confirmed the Thai government’s determination to revamp the entire flood drainage system in Bangkok.
In the wake of the flooding in Bangkok, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said he had already assigned relevant agencies, including the Ministry of Interior, the military, the National Council for Peace and Order and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, to make preparations for such an incident beforehand, especially in vulnerable areas of the city.
However, the premier admitted that the improvement of the drainage system has been conducted in a selective manner, preventing the flood problem from being solved effectively. He thus disclosed a plan to give the entire system a facelift as a long-term solution.
He added that the flood prevention work under the responsibility of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is a long-term project that requires a great amount of time and budget.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says it has stepped up its effort in preventing flooding conditions in Bangkok. More personnel and equipment are deployed to monitor the situation around the clock.
Bangkok Governor M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra attended a meeting with relevant units on flooding in Bangkok on 21 June.
The meeting agreed that flood tunnels is a long term solution to the problem of flooding in Bangkok, especially flood-prone areas such as the area in front of the Ratchada Criminal Court. After the Khlong Bang Sue flood tunnel is completed in 2017, it will help improve drainage the on Ratchada road and its surrounding areas.
With the introduction of flood tunnels, Bangkok will follow the examples of other Asian mega-cities, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur, both of which have made significant investment in flood tunnels in recent years. Similar projects exist or are proposed in numerous locations across the world, including Chicago, Malta, Calgary and Austin, Texas.
The recent heavy rain is welcomed by some, after a long heatwave and a period of drought in many parts of the country thought to be one of the worst in decades.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha urged the Thai people to abide by the government’s water management plan in order to promote the sustainable development of water resources.
The Prime Minister took the opportunity to give an opening speech at the Thailand Sustainable Water Management Forum 2016 where he said climate change affects water supplies worldwide. It is a global issue and the world needs an effective management plan.