in Thailand

Thailand flooding update November 14, 2011: Controversial “big bags”

Here’s the latest as of 10:30 p.m. Bangkok time today, Mon. November 14, 2011:

Overview

  • The northern sections of Bangkok continue to be the hardest hit, with large flood barriers — so-called “big bags” — creating controversy. (See the Bangkok Post story below.)
  • MRT (subway) and BTS (Skytrain) stations continue to operate normally.
  • Central Bangkok is still largely dry.
  • Thailand’s international airport, Suvarnabhumi, continues to function normally. Don Muang airport remains closed, but most domestic flights are now going through Suvarnabhumi.
  • One question that many people are asking now is: When will the floodwaters drain? The answer seems unclear.

New maps

The Wall Street Journal ran this helpful map Sat. that puts the Bangkok flooding in perspective and showing the area’s industrial estates:

2011 11 11 bangkok flooding wsj

This Bangkok Post map is several days old, but it shows roads that have been hit by flooding.

2011 11 14 bkk post flooding map

Here’s a bigger version.

News reports

The Bangkok Post says today:

City authorities and 20 flood-hit communities in Don Muang have come to a three-point agreement on the ‘big bag’ barrier problem, Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said on Monday afternoon.

And:

“The Don Muang residents don’t want to remove all the big bags. They only want some of them removed to relieve their hardship.

The WSJ reports today:

The Thai delegation came to the Asia summit here with a special agenda: to dispel doubts about the country’s future as the manufacturing hub of Southeast Asia, pledging massive investment to prevent a recurrence of the current devastating floods.

The New York Times‘s Latitude blog says today:

In the industrial estate of Lat Krabang, a few kilometers from Bangkok’s international airport, Honda workers clad in ghost white are standing around the shuttered factory, like the idle employees of a suspended space program. The floodwaters are approaching from the north and the east, raising canal levels and bubbling up through drainage systems. One of the men says that the defenses — sandbags and plastic sheets — can withstand one meter of water, but no more.

The AP reports from Ayutthaya:

Water fowl, monitor lizards and stray dogs have replaced the throngs of tourists at one of Thailand’s greatest historical sites. Record flooding has turned Ayutthaya’s ancient temples into islands, and a giant statue of the reclining Buddha appears to float miraculously on the lapping water.

The CSM ran this story last week:

Central Thailand’s devastating months-long flood, which has so far cost some 500 lives and billions of dollars in damage, has made for countless poignant scenes and memorable images. But that hasn’t stopped some journalists from staging their own, highlighting an ongoing issue that undermines the credibility and purpose of reporting.

(All emphasis mine.)

The standard reminders:

Administrative reminder

I may not post every day going forward, but will aim to share major developments and useful resources as time allows.