Like a little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike, Bangkok is plugging floodwall holes and installing pumps in a mad scramble to prevent flooding from innundating more of the Thai capital.
City Hall reinforced embankments and installed pumps along the Chao Phraya River on Tuesday to protect riverside communities from the high-tide surge.
Suthathip Son-iam, deputy permanent secretary for Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, said high tide caused flooding to communities outside permanent embankments near the Krung Thon Bridge in Bang Phlad District Nov. 8.
Council of Engineers of Thailand President Suchatvee Suwansawat and volunteer engineers visited the area underneath Krung Thon Bridge. The team inspected the 2.5-meter floodwall and flood-prevention infrastructure in the area, saying afterward that they found many spots needing improvement.
The engineers said the floodwall constructed 10 years ago was damaged, with gaps and holes present. Water had gushed in from these openings below the top of the floodwall and resulted in the recent flooding in the area.
City hall workers then repaired temporary embankments ruptured by floating logs to stop overflow into local communities and roads. Pumps were installed to speed up drainage, she said.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday ordered all agencies to quickly assist people in flooded areas.
Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana spoke of Tuesday’s flooding in many areas of greater Bangkok, attributing the inundation to the abnormally high tide and the inflow of water from upper Thailand.
As a result, the water level in the Chao Phraya River rose and overflows occurred in areas located outside flood barriers. Some of the affected localities in Bangkok are Charoen Nakhon, Charoen Krung, Rama 3, and Ratburana. Parts of Samutprakan are also affected.
The prime minister has also told relevant agencies to assist people whose cars became stuck on flooded roads.
Suthathip said that flooding could return but would not be as serious as what happened Monday because embankments were repaired and sandbags were placed, she said.
The Hydrographic Department of the Royal Thai Navy predicted that the overflow situation would begin to fade from Nov. 13 and would peak again at 1.2 meters from Nov 20-26.
The BMA ordered the offices of 19 districts facing the Chao Phraya River to quickly survey flood-prone areas and prevent flooding.
Long-term, the COET proposed four way of addressing the flood issue, the first of which is to use technology to predict, forecast and analyze flood risks, noting that storm surges can be recognized before they bring impact.
The second method is the completion of the levees along the Chao Phraya, which will be supported by computer-controlled water gates that can operate automatically.
The third proposed method is the use of two-layered floodwalls for increased flood protection reliability, and the fourth method involves the construction of a water gates-equipped dam at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River.
Suchatvee, who is also the rector of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, said there was a high probability of Bangkok becoming submerged 10 years from now if the correct remedies to the problem are not applied.
Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwon, who heads the National Water Command, said warnings of the storm surge have been issued, but some areas that were unprotected by water barriers have become affected. He added that the inundations are not expected to last and the situation would not escalate.
The National News Bureau of Thailand and Thailand News Agency contributed to this report.