A RANGSIT University professor warned that flooding over the next three months will be as severe as in 2011 with Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt urged to inform residents that the floodwater in the capital could reach a metre high while also drawing attention to projection by global experts that the metropolis will sink in the sea and disappeared by the year 2100, Naewna newspaper said last evening (August 30).
Dr. Seree Supharathit, director of the Centre for Climate Change and Disaster at Rangsit University and a member of the National Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Committee, said Thailand will be getting more rainfall from September to November with the Meteorological Department having forecast that two to three tropical storms could hit the country.
There is a chance of Thailand being hit with the worst rainfall in a hundred years to go by Seoul having earlier this month suffered heaviest rain in 80 years which turned the South Korean capital’s streets into car-clogged rivers with floodwater cascading into subway stations.
This is the situation in many countries and Thailand does risk getting massive flooding like in 2011 because the amount of precipitation is the same.
However Dr. Seree pointed to a difference in that in 2011 the huge flooding occurred quickly because of floodwater flowing down and drainage by big dams. This year the flooding will be from storms possibly moving to the central region and flooding farmland and overflowing to the economic zone. Pa Sak dam is now full and if it drains water to the east it will flow to Rangsit canal.
“When water overflows Phraya Banlue Canal Bangkokians start preparing to protect yourself because there is only a small water retardant area in Bangkok and its surrounding areas. The authorities have to understand in advance that there will be areas where the floodwater will rise a metre high,” he said.
The government has not as yet released clear information to the public and still has the previous 13 measures in place which do not provide protection, he said, and also pointing to 2011 when a conflict arose with people in Ayutthaya, Suphanburi and Pathum Thani closing roads as they did not want anymore water to be released in their areas with officials not having gone in to explain the situation before it arose.
He again warned that from September to November it will rain hard and likely last a long time. In addition there is no knowing when the storms will come in, at best there is 10-day advance warning. But will farmers in Chao Phraya basin be able to harvest rice within 15 days because if not, and water is drained into their fields, their crops would be damaged.
“As for Mr. Chadchart Sittipunt, Bangkok Governor, he must clearly reveal the information and various countermeasures to Bangkokians to acknowledge and understand the situation … and prepare to protect themselves.
“The government too should not wait to use remedial measures because prevention is better than allowing people to fight among themselves.” he said.
Dr. Seree mentioned that international organisations on climate change had made a map showing that Bangkok and its vicinities will sink and disappear from the global map by 2100.
If the government does not do anything to prevent this then it must prepare to move the capital.
Any measures adopted today, such as building a seawall or barriers, will take 30 years to complete to go by the Netherlands, South Korea, Japan, Singapore taking this long to complete their projects.
He suggested that a sea dam be built from Pattaya to Cha-am with the private sector and the general public joining in to develop the area into a tourist attraction or a clean industrial zone.
Composite images of the severe flooding in 2011. Top photo: Naewna, Front Page photo: Matichon
Insert: Dr. Seree Supharathit. Photo: Matichon