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The massive volume of water is flowing down to Bangkok and people should prepare for possible flooding, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra said on Saturday morning.

In her “Yingluck government meets people” weekly radio talk show on radio stations under the supervision of the Public Relations Department nationwide this morning, Ms Yingluck told people that it would take about one month for the floodwater in Bangkok to recede.

She said and the government has implement measures to protect the capital’s important places such as the palaces, hospitals, state offices, airports and economic zones.

The government will ensure that all roads and expressways are opened for traffic and that the tapped-water production and power plants are well protected, she added.

The prime minister urged Bangkok people not to panic and prepare for possible flooding. She also called on all water related offices to join forces in fighting against the coming floodwater.

Ms Yingluck said in helping the flood victims, the government set up 1,743 evacuation centres in all flooded provinces. Altogether 113,369 flood affected people are residing at the temporary shelters now.

From Bangkokpost

After hearing of the updated situation, MR Sukhumbhand staged an urgent press conference at 9:30pm last night to report that the torrent is expected to arrive in Don Muang and Sai Mai districts within 48 hours of his announcement.

The government had alerted City Hall that they could no longer hold back the flood water and that they could not reduce the amount flowing into Khlong Rangsit, Khlong 8 and Khlong 9 in neighbouring Pathum Thani province.

This will result in a sharp rise in the waterways north of Bangkok, MR Sukhumbhand said.

“Sai Mai district is at the frontline. Don Muang should be on high alert too,” the governor said.

In an attempt to safeguard northern Bangkok, MR Sukhumbhand said City Hall would find 1.2 million sandbags to increase the height of Khlong Hok Wa to about three metres.

“We have another 48 hours to evaluate the situation,” he said.

“So, don’t panic but do prepare for possible flooding, for example by moving your belongings to higher ground.”

Earlier yesterday, MR Sukhumbhand expressed concern that floodwater could start to flow into the north of the capital.

He said a dyke was being built along Khlong Hok Wa Canal to protect Sai Mai and Khlong Sam Wa districts.

Workers together with soldiers and volunteers were raising a dyke along a 7km stretch of the canal by 50cm.

City Hall will also raise a 1.25km section of Liap Khlong Song Road and a 1.5km section of Sai Mai Road by 30cm to keep floodwaters at bay.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has distributed 600,000 more sandbags to eastern districts, while the governor has appealed for more sand to protect eastern Bangkok.

“I don’t think Bangkok is safe,” MR Sukhumbhand said. “The danger has not been averted.

“However, the situation is not critical yet. The BMA must be vigilant, especially in Sai Mai and Don Muang. If the dyke in Sai Mai is breached, Khlong Sam Wa will be hit too.”

The level of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok was 2.07 metres yesterday, while dykes along the river stand at 2.50 metres on average.

Elsewhere, Bangkok’s government complex on Chaeng Watthana Road started taking in flood evacuees yesterday, with about 300 flood victims arriving from Rangsit and Lat Lum Kaeo district.

Meanwhile, more communities and institutions in Pathum Thani and north Bangkok are threatened by the run-off as it moves from the Central Plains towards the Gulf of Thailand.

Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus, Pinehurst golf course, the White House housing estate, Bangkok University’s Rangsit campus and other areas in and around Rangsit were placed on alert yesterday after the Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate in Pathum Thani was partially submerged following a breach in its northern flood walls.

The management of Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus, 8km south of the industrial estate, says it can cope with floodwater, as the campus is also functioning as an evacuation centre.

According to deputy rector Assoc Prof Kamphol Rujiwich, the height of an earth dyke around the campus has been raised and possible leaks plugged.

He said sandbags are also providing protection for Thammasat Chalermprakiat Hospital and that patient evacuation plans are in place if needed.

Assoc Prof Kamphol also advised new evacuees to head for safer shelters instead of the Rangsit campus.

Residents of many provinces face imminent flooding – or the worsening of existing flooding – as massive amounts of water move towards their areas from parts further north. The run-off water is set to reach Bangkok between October 16 and 18, which is also the high-tide period.

“Floods will hit the capital for sure. It’s just a question of where,” Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute director Dr Royol Chitradon said yesterday.

Water management and drainage capacity would determine how serious the situation would be, he said.

According to the 24/7 Emergency Operations Centre for Floods, Storms and Landslides, pushing water out to sea will get much more difficult later this month because the seawater level is about to rise. The centre’s deputy director, Wiboon Sa-nguanpong, said that by the time the huge amount of water being released from the Bhumibol and Pasak Jolasid dams reaches the lower Central region late next week, the high-tide period will have already begun.

“Overflowing [of rivers] will likely worsen,” said Wiboon, who also heads the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

Located in Lop Buri, the Pasak Jolasid Dam has been holding water at 136 per cent of its normal storage level. As of press time, it was releasing 950 cubic metres of water per second.

Apart from Ayutthaya, the other provinces ordered to prepare for emergency evacuations are Ang Thong, Chai Nat, Chachoengsao, Lop Buri, Nakhon Sawan, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Sing Buri and Uthai Thani.

Under an agreement reached at the National Flood Relief Centre’s meeting yesterday, the army will take over the job of protecting Ayutthaya, Lop Buri and Nakhon Sawan provinces from further damage.

Provincial governors have been charged with supervising the protection of other flooded provinces, and they will work closely with local police commanders, 191 police radio centre and the Royal Thai Police Office.

“During the next one or two days, it will be raining too. In fact, it looks set to pour down in many provinces in the Central region,” Wiboon said.

Located in Tak, Bhumibol Dam has reached 98 per cent of its capacity and is now releasing water, forcing people living downstream to struggle with flooding. In Ban Tak district, where floodwaters are about one metre deep, people in 42 villages have had to travel around by boat.

“This is the worst flooding in 52 years. It’s the worst since Bhumibol Dam was constructed,” Ban Tak district chief Thanin Wichitrakoon said. He believed the floods would continue for a few more days, as the dam had been forced to release water.

Elsewhere, residents of many provinces were bracing for more serious floods as run-off water from the upper part of the country raced towards their areas.

Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut said that next Thursday or Friday, water would be flowing down the Chao Phraya River in Nakhon Sawan at a rate of between 4,500 and 5,500 cubic metres per second. The sheer scale of the water-flow rate means that more flooding was likely for those living along the river, he said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pipatchau Paiboon said the governor of Nakhon Sawan had already been instructed to prepare residents for evacuation.

“Flooding will spread further in riverside provinces, starting with Nakhon Sawan and followed by Chai Nat,” Theera said. To date, flooding has hit 28 provinces and affected more than 2.6 million people. The disaster has killed 244 people and left three missing. It is estimated that floods have already ravaged 7.5 million rai of farmland. As many as 182 roads are impassable due to deep floodwater levels.

Floods have left 1,215 factories submerged, affecting more than 41,000 workers. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday described the situation as “critical” and said she was quite worried about the upcoming storms. Royal Irrigation Department director-general Chalit Damrongsak, said the water volume is much larger than during last year’s flooding.

Yingluck said that in flood-marooned areas, the urgent task was to deliver food. She instructed government agencies to co-ordinate with both private and public-sector organisations in their flood-relief operations.

Science Minister Plodprasob Surassawadee urged individuals and private firms to make their boats and vessels available for volunteer operations to push water out to sea.

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