10/15/2011, 00.00
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Flood threatens centre of Bangkok

The area north of the capital was flooded with water 80 cm high. The authorities launch appeals and contradictory announcements. The wave will flood Bangkok with 16 billion cubic meters of water and it will take a month to return to normal. Damage to rice fields: production will decrease by 6-7 million tons.
Bangkok (AsiaNews) - Flooding continues to threaten the Thai capital, after the heavy rains of recent months. The authorities have given orders to strengthen the barriers along 4 km of canals to prevent water from reaching the city center. Yesterday, north of Bangkok, one of these barriers broke, flooding the area. Many businesses, homes and roads are under 80 cm of water.

Pracha Promnok, justice minister and head of the Centre for the flood emergency, claimed he was “confident that we can control the flow of water and avoid Bangkok being hit, except in some areas outside the flood barriers".

Confusion reigns among the public, given the contradictory announcements by authorities. Yesterday the Minister for Science and Technology ordered the evacuation of the northern outskirts of Bangkok, but then, Sukhumbhand Paribatra, governor of the capital, criticized the order assuming all responsibility.

Yesterday morning, the interior ministry declared as many as 17 districts of Bangkok "disaster areas", in need of immediate emergency aid, but in the afternoon, Pol January Pracha, national director for emergency, annulled the declaration.

According to the Ministry of Environment, the full tide which will arrive in Bangkok will be huge: about 16 billion cubic meters of water from rivers and canals are converging from different provinces and it will take at least a month to drain all the water.

Many factories and offices have been flooded. But the hardest hit area is rice farming, which is likely to see a drop in production amounting to 6-7 million tons of rice

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