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Even worse Thailand flood crisis in 2012 unless government is decisive

THE NATION, January 26, 2011, posted at
http://www.thaivisa.com

Picture of flood victims in 2011 Thailand flooding.

BANGKOK: -- Water experts yesterday urged the Thai government to be decisive about flood-prevention measures in order to prevent a repeat of last year's severe flooding in Thailand, as the La Nina phenomenon is expected to bring early rains and more storms this year.

They expressed concern that a lack of clear decisions from the government would leave the flood-prevention efforts in disarray.

Seree Supharatid, director of Rangsit University's Centre on Climate Change and Disaster, warned that due to the La Nina climatic phenomenon, early rainfalls were expected between March and May, which would force dams to release water from their Thai reservoirs. He said major dams such as Bhumibol and Sirikit were holding water at 90 per cent of their capacity.

Although there would be fewer rains between September and November, storms were likely towards the latter part of the year, given the statistics over the past five decades. "There will also be many storms this year," Seree said.

"If this year's water volume is as much as last year's, I believe floods will be inevitable. We cannot implement flood-prevention measures in the short term. The negotiation over floodways has hit snags," he said, referring to opposition to a plan to designate certain farming areas as floodways.

Pramote Maiklad, former director-general of the Royal Irrigation Department, said yesterday there had been no clear guidelines on how to deal with future flooding in Bangkok and the surrounding provinces, and the government had yet to come up with a water resources management proposal.

He called on the government to follow His Majesty the King's suggestions, made as early as 1980, about designating floodways and green belts to prevent flooding in the capital and its surrounding provinces. He added that the royal advice had been largely ignored by previous administrations.

Pramote said floodways - or even water tunnels - were needed as a sustainable measure to prevent severe flooding in the lower parts of the Chao Phraya River basin.

Seree and Pramote were speaking at a panel discussion on "Mega-projects against Floods: Are they well thought, rightly thought, and carefully thought?", at Chulalongkorn University. The event was organised by the university's Asia Studies Institute and King Prajadhipok's Institute, an independent academic organisation under the Parliament.

Both are members of the government's Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management, which was set up late last year following the floods in many Central plains provinces, including Bangkok.

Seree, who is also director of the Sirindhorn International Environmental Park's Energy and Environment Centre, noted that out of the country's 77 provinces, only four announced their city plans. "Without the city plans being enforced, there are problems" in preventing floods, he said.

Borwornsak Uwanno, secretary-general of King Prajadhipok's Institute, said at yesterday's seminar that without good preparation and management plans, this year's flood problems would be worse than last year's.

Meanwhile, in a petition filed with the Central Administrative Court yesterday, the Stop Global Warming Association (SGWA) demanded that the government award the same amount in compensation to those affected by floods as it will be giving to victims of political unrest.

"The government should not resort to preferential treatment," SGWA president Srisuwan Janya said.

According to the Cabinet's resolution on January 10, the family of every person killed during political unrest in recent years shall be entitled to about Bt7.75 million in compensation. Critics have slammed the resolution, suggesting that the government is favouring its red-shirt supporters.

"If the government compensates flood victims in the same manner, it will win even more love from the people," Srisuwan said yesterday, adding that the government should be fair to those affected by its own mismanagement of the flood crisis.

Hire mold consultants Phillip Fry and Divine Montero to find air conditioning mold, workplace mold, and mold hidden inside the walls, ceilings, floors, crawl space, attic, basement, and HVAC equipment and system of your house, condominium, office, workplace, or other building anywhere in  Phoenix, Mesa, and Scottsdale, Arizona, California, Las Vegas, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and elsewhere in Asia. Email: phil@moldinspector.com. Mold Training  Mold Inspector Directory  Industrial Hygienist Training  Industrial Hygienist Directory  Mold Inspection Blog Questions & Answers

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