Thailand flooding update October 21, 2011: Building a flood barrier on Sukhumvit

Here’s the latest as of 9:30 p.m. Bangkok time today, October 21, 2011:


  • Flooding continues to affect northern Bangkok.
  • Central Bangkok is still under threat.

The situation on lower Sukhumvit

A week ago I posted a photo of sand bags on lower Sukhumvit.

Just an hour or so ago, at the same location near Sukhumvit Soi 14 and the Asoke BTS station, I spotted workers erecting a wall to prevent potential flooding from hitting a tailor’s shop.

Here’s a cell phone pic, looking in the opposite direction as the earlier image:

2011 10 21 bangkok flooding wall

Note that this was only construction of flood walls I saw in the immediate area, so I don’t mean to suggest that this is a widespread practice in the lower Sukhumvit zone.

New maps

Here are two new maps I’ve come across:

Here’s an embedded map, below, showing photos of the flooding (click the icons for images):

ดู Thailand Flood photo 2011 ในแผนที่ขนาดใหญ่กว่า

And here’s a a map with videos of the flooding. Again, click the icons:

ดู Thailand Flood Map Video September – October 2011 ในแผนที่ขนาดใหญ่กว่า

Don’t forget that a collection of previous maps can be found by checking the Thailand flooding tag.

And here are the maps from my previous post.

News reports

The AP says today that:

Thailand’s prime minister urged Bangkok residents to get ready to move their belongings to higher ground Friday as the country’s worst floods in half a century began seeping into the capital’s outer districts.

The government has opened several key floodgates in a risky move to let built-up water flow through the canals toward the sea, and it’s not known how much the canals will overflow.

An Associated Press team Friday saw water entering homes in Bangkok’s northern Lak Si district, along the capital’s main Prapa canal. The water rose to knee-level in some places but damage so far was minor and not affecting Bangkok’s main business district.

The WSJ‘s Southeast Asia Real Time reports:

Thailand’s capital city woke up Thursday to an uncertain few days in which Bangkok’s anti-flood defenses will be given their toughest test yet.

Local newspapers spelled out the government’s latest plans for diverting the floodwaters away from the heart of the Thai economy, warning that some of the city’s eastern suburbs will be sacrificed to protect the inner core. Bangkok accounts for over 40% of Thailand’s economic output, and the spectacle of a widespread inundation there could also badly damage the country’s substantial tourism industry for months or even years to come.

And there are these sobering figures:

National leaders hope to drain some of the flood waters through some of the city’s canals. The Bangkok Post newspaper reported that more than 8 billion cubic meters of flood waters are flowing from the northern and central Thailand towards Bangkok, but the Chao Phraya River that flows through the center of the city can only divert around 200 million cubic meters a day. Diverting water through the city’s canals would help ease the burden on Chao Phraya.

Reuters has a rundown of the flooding numbers:

– 27 of Thailand’s 77 provinces are affected

– 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) of land is flooded, an area roughly the size of Kuwait or Swaziland, or twice the size of Puerto Rico

– 342 people have been killed as a result of the floods

– 2.4 million people have been affected

Bloomberg has the latest on the business implications:

Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) are facing the worst supply disruptions since the March earthquake that crippled Japan, leading investors to scramble assessing the financial toll of the floods in Thailand.

An FT beyondbrics blog post says:

As central Bangkok residents brace for possible floods and many factories north of the Thai capital remain under two metres of water, investors are starting to ask whether the worst floods in 50 years will damage the country’s prospects as a major global manufacturing base.

AFP reports on the tourism angle:

Since deadly monsoon rains began three months ago, images of inundated Thai homes and frightened residents wading through water have appeared worldwide and dented the allure of the “Land of Smiles”, typically associated with sunshine.

Many would-be tourists are now putting off their visits to the kingdom, according to industry groups, in another major blow little more than a year after the capital was rocked by two months of deadly political unrest.

The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) reported new bookings have fallen by up to 70 percent compared to usual levels for the month, while Tourism Authority of Thailand deputy chief Sansern Ngaorungsi said cancellation rates had reached about 25 percent.

And finally, the Bangkok Post reports that:

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday assumed powers under the natural disaster law giving her full authority to implement a nationwide disaster relief plan.

(All emphasis mine.)

Stay tuned.

As ever, you can follow me on Twitter: @Newley.

Published by Newley

Hi. I'm Newley Purnell. I cover technology and business for The Wall Street Journal, based in New Delhi. I use this site to share my stories and often blog about the books I read, tech trends, sports, travel, and our dog Ginger. Join the growing group of readers who get my weekly email newsletter.

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