Thai floods: Toll hits 400, Bangkok on alert

Most supermarket shelves are stark and empty with people in a hoarding frenzy mode.

Updated: Nov 02, 2011, 23:01 PM IST

Bangkok: The Thai capital of Bangkok has been
put on alert with reports that flood waters were advancing
deeper into the city from the northern outskirts, even as the
death toll from country`s worst floods in decades surged above
400 on Wednesday as public anger stepped up against authorities.

The sluice gate and a dyke failed to limit inflows to
save the inner city. The water level on the key Rarm Intra
Road, both inbound and outbound, continued to rise and the
road became impassable yesterday.

The flood has now killed 427 people, an increase of 42
from the figure reported a day earlier, authorities said. So
far no deaths have been reported in Bangkok.

The long stretch of Sukhumvit road whose either
sides are dotted by high rise apartments where most of the
expatriates including a sizeable Indian population live, has
so far not been hit by the flood waters.

The long road itself is the prime shopping district
with shopping malls and hotels.

Most supermarket shelves are stark and empty with
people in a hoarding frenzy mode.

Prices of vegetables, food, rice, eggs have all shot
up in the past few weeks.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra has given
himself wide-ranging control over flood operations in the city
and is to send council workers backed by police to repair the
controversial Khlong Sam Wa sluice gate.

Sukhumbhand`s move is apparently in defiance of
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra`s order to widen the sluice
gate to one metre.

She took the action after nearby residents destroyed
part of the sluice gate to speed up the drainage of their
areas.

Meanwhile, Deputy Governor Thirachon Manomaipiboon
said all 50 districts in Bangkok are at risk of flooding as a
result of the Khlong Sam Wa incident.

Bangkok, known as the Venice of the East, has a
network of canals called Klongs.
"Bangkok has 2,000 canals and there are many
underground tunnels that are connected with each other.

When the water is released to Saen Saep canal, it
will pass through all 50 districts," Thirachon warned.

Meanwhile, three major Japanese factories producing
motorcycles in Thailand cannot confirm when they will be able
to resume production following the floods.

Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki have experienced trouble in
securing parts from the suppliers whose facilities were
damaged by flooding.
The Thai Yamaha Motor plant at Bang Na-Trat Km 21 in
eastern Bangkok remains unaffected but production was
suspended 10 days ago. Thai Suzuki Motor also suspended
motorcycle production as parts were unavailable and many
workers could not reach the factory in heavily flooded
Thanyaburi in Pathum Thani.

So far, the flood has not damaged its plant.

"We cannot confirm when we can resume production
until we know the full extent of recovery of the suppliers,"
said Lertsak Navavimarn, general manager for sales and
marketing.

Thai Honda Manufacturing suspended production at its
plant in Lat Krabang, Bangkok on October 11 and the suspension
will last at least until Friday, Bangkok Post said.

PTI