News

UPDATE: Floods cause Chao Phraya to swell

25 Oct 2011

The flooding situation in Bangkok has taken a turn for the worse as Chao Phraya river’s water levels have risen up to 2.3 metres above sea level, exceeding the its average elevation level of less than 2 metres. 

Citizens residing along the banks of the river have been warned by authorities to evacuate as water has begun spilling into the nation’s capital. Agencies have begun to dredge canals to widen waterways in a bid to alleviate the exacerbating flood conditions.

The Thai King has given Royal orders for the Royal Irrigation Department to construct embankments around the area in a twofold operation (for the inner and outer city) so that water can be diverted to the sea at Samut Prakan. This follows news of the rising floodwaters in Bangkok’s northern suburbs on October 24 (see story here).

Hotels lining the Chao Phraya are also facing an increasing risk, yet remain confident about their position.

One of the hotels close to the river, The Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, expressed confidence that the hotel is protected from the force of the floods at this point in time. 

“Shangri-La Bangkok has a crisis team and full evacuation drills in place. We are well prepared for the floods. Business is running as usual, and guests are still checking in and staying in-house. Today, we expect approximately 80 guests to arrive with more arriving Wednesday,” said the hotel’s spokesperson.

In addition, the property has also taken to social networking as a tool to communicate flood situations with netizens. Its Facebook page (see page here) shows flood water level updates in the hotel’s vicinity, as well as other areas around the river. The page is updated about three times daily.

“In the event of an emergency, we have facilities to fit 2,500 guests for about two weeks with medical supplies. However, I have a strong feeling we won’t need to,” she added.

Another property lining the Chao Phraya banks, The Peninsula Bangkok, asserts that the hotel is safe from floodwaters as of now, and the functions of the hotel still remain normal. “If the water level is not going to rise above 2.5 metres, there should be no problem.” said a representative from the hotel.

When asked about plans for evacuation, she commented, “We have already prepared our safety plans and teams in the event of an emergency, but the flood has yet to reach our hotel.”

Airlines have yet to take any measures with regards to the worsening floods situations in Bangkok. According to a spokesperson from Thai Airways, flights are still operating as per normal. “We still have approximately 240 flights out of Bangkok that are operating as per normal.” 

Other major carriers to Bangkok such as Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines also report no changes to their flight schedules in the face of the dire flood conditions.

“Our six daily flights to Bangkok are still operating as per normal,” said a spokesperson from Cathay Pacific. In addition, Changi Airport confirms that none of its flights from Singapore to Bangkok have been affected due to the floods. 

For more information about the floods, visit thailand.prd.go.th. For more information on flight updates, visit your carrier’s website or www.suvarnabhumiairport.com

Tiffany Sandrasageran

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