Thailand flooding update October 30, 2011: Authorities say things are improving

Here’s the latest as of 10 p.m. today, Sun. October 30, 2011:

Summary

  • Authorities said today that the worst may have passed, with the city’s flood defenses surviving this weekend’s high tides.
  • To re-cap the current situation: Northern, northwestern, and eastern Bangkok have been hit, as has central Thailand.

    Business, commercial, and tourist areas of central Bangkok — like Sukhumvit Rd., Silom, and Sathorn — remain dry.

    However, some areas near the Grand Palace and Chinatown have suffered minor flooding at times.

New map

Here’s a map that shows the flooding here in Thailand from Oct. 3 through Oct. 27:

2011 10 30 thailand flooding animatedgif

Click here to see it as an animated gif.

News reports

The NYT reports:

Shielded by hundreds of thousands of sandbags piled shoulder high along the city’s outskirts, most of Bangkok remained dry on Sunday, allaying fears for the time being that the massive metropolis would be swamped by monsoon floodwaters.

But along the flood walls, which ring the city and were being patrolled by soldiers and police officers around the clock, there was a mixture of relief and resentment.

And:

On Sunday, Ms. Yingluck said she was confident that the situation was improving because the flood walls were mostly holding up.

Experts and government officials said favorable weather and the passing of peak tides over the weekend might mean the worst was over for Bangkok.

“The situation is easing,” said Somsak Khaosuwan, the director of Thailand’s National Disaster Warning Center. “If the flood walls don’t break, inner Bangkok will definitely be safe.”

The AP says:

On one side of Bangkok, you’ll find the victims of Thailand’s worst flooding in half a century. They float down trash-strewn waterways, paddling washtubs with wicker brooms over submerged neighborhoods.

Just a few miles (kilometers) away, you’ll find something else entirely: well-heeled shoppers perusing bustling malls decorated with newly hung Halloween decorations, couples sipping espresso in the air-conditioned comfort of ultrachic cafes.

Although catastrophic flooding has devastated a third of this Southeast Asian nation and submerged some of the capital’s northernmost districts, the reality for the majority of this sprawling metropolis of 9 million people is that life goes on.

And AFP has some analysis:

[E]fforts to prepare the capital for looming floodwaters have been plagued by contradictory messages from Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government and local authorities, both seeking to score political points, observers said.

The sense of disunity during the slow-motion catastrophe has doused hopes the crisis might bring rival political factions together following years of instability since royalist generals overthrew Yingluck’s brother in 2006.

This is no longer just an issue of natural disaster. It has become a ferocious political game,” said Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a Thailand expert at the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

And finally, the Shutter Asia Web site has a forum post with some images and maps showing areas along the Chao Phraya that have been hit by minor flooding (scroll down).

(All emphasis mine.)

Travel advice

Again, I can’t reply to emails asking for travel tips. Sorry.

As I’ve said, things can change quickly and no one can accurately predict what the coming days and weeks have in store.

The standard reminders:

Administrative note

If, indeed, things are improving, I might not post every day going forward.

I will continue to share major developments, however.

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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