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Thailand Live Wednesday 26 Oct 2011

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Thailand Live Wednesday 26 October 2011

News, Bits and Tweets

with webfact

Keep up to date with live updates from the news, hour by hour.

For breaking news,national, regional and international news updates on a daily basis only, this thread is closed to commentary so that those who wish to follow the news can find it here...

Commentary is still open for Thailand news in the relevant thread posted in News Clippings.

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Related topic: Thailand Live Tuesday 25 Oct 2011

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Don Muaeng Airport evacuated

The Nation

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The Flood Relief Operations Centre has moved people from its evacuation site in Don Muaeng Airport to a shelter inside a college in Chon Buri, after it looked like the compound might get submerged.

FROC spokesman Wim Rungwatthanajinda said more than 100 buses were being used to move some 4,000 evacuees and the job should be completed in four hours, he said yesterday at 6.30pm. Another potential shelter is Bangkok's National Stadium, now that the Rajamangala Stadium in Hua Mark is already accommodating evacuees.

Wim added that FROC was looking for a new operations site, though he would not say if the new site would be in Bangkok.

Prospective shelters outside Bangkok include the Bonanza camp in Nakhon Ratchasima, which could accommodate up to 10,000 people; Saraburi's Fort Adisorn; the Burapa University campus in Chon Buri as well as city halls in nearby provinces.

He said the idea of putting up evacuees in hotels had been floated but dismissed later due to high costs and likely refusal by hotel owners.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-26

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Don Mueang breached

The Nation

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Airlines forced to suspend services from airport, some flights diverted to Suvarnabhumi; FROC to maintain HQ at Don Mueang, but 3,000 flood victims will be evacuated

In Bangkok's most critical day to date, run-off water approaching the Don Mueang Airport yesterday forced airlines to suspend their services and threatened the headquarters of the government's Flood Relief Operations Centre (FROC), which decided however not to switch location.

Low-cost carrier Nok Air cancelled flights to and from Don Mueang from noon for safety reasons. Its flights from foreign destinations were diverted to Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Nok Air services have been suspended until November 1, chief executive Patee Sarasin said.

Orient Thai, another low-cost airline, moved its services to Suvarna-bhumi from yesterday. The shift to Bangkok's main airport is temporary, according to the carrier's Facebook page. All of Orient Thai's afternoon and evening flights from regional airports yesterday were diverted to Suvarnabhumi.

Water levels on Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road in front of Don Mueang Airport, and on Phaholyothin Road at the back, were rising dangerously yesterday - by more than 60 centimetres in some areas - particularly on the Phaholyothin section between the Air Force and Sai Mai intersections.

The FROC issued a warning for motorists leaving their cars on the first floor of Don Mueang Airport's car-park building to move them to higher ground, as the airport was expected to be flooded.

Flood barriers made of small rocks and sandbags were constructed at the airport's entrances.

Despite these developments, the FROC resolved yesterday evening to keep its headquarters inside Don Mueang Airport's domestic passengers building, the centre's spokesman, Wim Rungwattanajinda, said.

He said the centre's main working area was on the second floor, adding that the section responsible for packing relief items for flood victims, now on the first floor, would be moved to the warehouse.

The spokesman said parts of the airport compound were expected to be under no more than 1 metre of flood water on Friday.

However, more than 3,000 people at Don Mueang Airport - evacuated there from flood-hit areas in upstream provinces - were yesterday moved again, this time to the Physical Science College in Chon Buri.

Justice Minister Pracha Promnok, head of the FROC, said the centre was working with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to protect the airport. He said there was no need for the centre to be moved as it was still able to function at its current location.

"We are trying to work out this problem [at Don Mueang Airport] with the BMA. We aim to block the water by today [Tuesday], particularly water from the National Memorial. It depends on how fast we can work," he said.

Bangkok Governor MR Sukhum-bhand Paribatra said flood water at the airport could not be pumped out at the moment because water levels in the nearby Rangsit and Prem Prachakorn canals remained high.

"What we can do now is to build walls of sandbags at the entrances and exits," he said.

The governor suggested that evacuees inside the airport compound be moved for safety reasons, as there was the likelihood of an even higher water level.

Sukhumbhand said he was not opposed to a plan of using Bangkok roads for the release of run-off water into the sea. "I just want them to tell me first, so that measures can be taken to protect residents on both sides of the roads," he added.

Meanwhile, the Navy yesterday was preparing for the evacuation of residents in Bang Phlat and Thawi Watthana districts on the Thon Buri side of the capital, said Navy chief Admiral Surasak Runroengrom. He said the evacuees would be moved to the new Navy command building.

Surasak also called for unity among Thais in order to survive the crisis.

He added that the Navy was monitoring the water situation on the western side of Bangkok, particularly in Thawi Watthana Canal and at Siriraj Hospital, where His Majesty the King is hospitalised.

He said Navy personnel had built more than 50 rafts and a number of small boats to be distributed to residents of flood-hit areas in Ayutthaya and Nonthaburi.

Many major roads in Bangkok have been flooded and ordered closed, including a long section of Charan Sanitwong from Bang Phlat intersection to Rama VII Bridge. This section of road is submerged in waist-high flood water.

Other roads ordered to be closed, all in eastern Bangkok and totalling 39 kilometres, in order to make way for flood barriers on traffic islands, are: a section of Sai Mai Road from its beginning to Chathabubeksa intersection; a combination of Hathai Rat, Hathai Nimitr and Nimit Mai roads to Suwinthawong intersection; and Rom Klao Road from Onnuj to Kingkaew Road.

A 1-kilometre Phaholyothin Road stretch in front of the Air Force headquarters to the National Memorial Monument has also been closed, as has another section from Rangsit to Bang Khant junction.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-26

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Two electrocuted in Khon Kaen

The Nation

A grandmother and her young neighbour were found electrocuted inside a flooded home in Muang district, police said yesterday.

The bodies of Somsri Khongnawang, 72, and Patipan Boonsang, 15, were discovered at noon in the back of Somsri's home in the 300-unit Thung Setthee housing estate, which has been under up to 100 centimetres of flood water for nearly a month now.

Police believe they had been dead for about 24 hours.

Somsri was holding an electric wire from a pump. Police suspect she pulled the plug and was electrocuted, while Patipan had tried to help her.

Somsri's daughter Warawan, 40, said her mother lived alone and Patipan often visited her. On Monday, they used a boat to distribute lunchboxes they had prepared for fellow victims in the estate.

Neighbours later noticed the house seemed to have an electric discharge and the boat was left floating in front, so they alerted police.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-26

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Navy joins in flood relief measures

The Nation

The Royal Thai Navy is preparing to evacuate people in Thon Buri and Bang Plad from their flooded homes after the Chao Phraya River overflowed into residential areas on Monday, Navy commander Admiral Surasak Runrerngrom said yesterday.

The Navy is keeping a close watch on the area of Klong Thawiwattana and Siriraj Hospital by constructing and guarding embankments there.

The Navy has made 50 rafts and shifted them to Ayutthaya and Nonthaburi to transfer patients out of their flooded homes. It is also ready to provide boats to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administra-tion to discharge water into the sea and lifeboats to evacuate people.

Defence Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapa yesterday called for a meeting of military commanders to take action on the flood problems.

Air Force commander Air Chief Marshal Ithiporn Supawong said he had held talks about moving aircraft out of Don Mueang Airport after flood waters started to flow into the area.

He said the Air Force was watching the situation hour by hour. Planes used to evacuate people were still being kept at Don Mueang but other small aircraft have been moved out to Chon Buri's U-tapao airport.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-26

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People want to get back to work

WANNAPA KHOAPA

THE NATION

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Amid job insecurity, govt urged to provide occupational

Flood evacuees are calling on the government to help them to start their lives again.

They want to return to work as soon as possible, but still have no idea if their employers would let them do so. As a result, they want the government to discuss with businesses about guaranteeing their employment.

The flood victims have requested occupational training and compensation to rebuild their lives following the floods that have swept away their jobs and valuables.

The Nation yesterday talked to Sakuna Suriwongsa, 19, Thewee Chompom, 27, and Sakda Khun-ngiew, 26. The three had been evacuated from a submerged shelter inside Thammasat University, Rangsit campus to Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok.

They said they wanted to start working again but did not know if their employers would re-hire them.

Thewee is a bus conductor and her husband is a bus driver. Both had worked for a private bus firm in Pathum Thani for six months. Together with their three children and her mother, they were evacuated from their flooded homes two weeks ago.

"We don't know if our employer will hire us," Thewee said. "The only thing we want is that the government ensures we can return to the same job."

Prior to the flooding, Sakuna worked in a toy factory inside the Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate and was enrolled for college study.

"The factory has been damaged by floods. The employer has said he will allow me to work there again, but I'm not sure when it will be able to resume operations. My job is insecure," she said.

Sakuna said she had thoughts of taking up an additional job while waiting for the flood waters to recede. Occupational training would be a good idea: "It will help me and other evacuees ease our stress and we will have more skills and opportunities to earn money."

Sakda, a worker at a sling and wire factory, an inundated business at the same industrial estate, said he was not sure if the factory would reopen in under three months. He decided to apply to three new factories in Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Rayong when officers from the Employment Department met him while taking shelter at Thammasat and suggested the vacant positions to him.

Sakda has not been paid, even though his wage was scheduled for transfer into his bank account on October 20. His belongings in his dormitory have gone under water. He does not have enough money to travel to any of those new factories, so he decided to move to the shelter at the stadium.

"Though the new factories provided me jobs, I cannot travel there as I don't have enough money. It would be good if the government gave each flood-affected worker Bt4,000-Bt5,000 to start their lives again. I would then be able to start working immediately," he added.

Kanokphan Julkasem, governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) said yesterday about 2,000 evacuees would be taking shelter at the stadium.

TU has taken care of up to 3,800 evacuees and the stadium can help around 2,000 more, Decha Saweastsirorat, director of business and beverages department of SAT, said. Those who did not want to go back home could be sent to Supacharasai National Stadium in Bangkok, or other places in Chon Buri.

Decha said doctors and nurses had been stationed at the Rajamangala Stadium to screen people who are sick before separating them from other evacuees. Psychologists and health volunteers have also been recruited to give advice on easing stress and providing first aid.

TU deputy president Asst Prof Prinya Thaewanarumitkul said some evacuees at Thammasat, whose homes were near the university, refused to move as the campus was the most convenient place for them to return home to check their belongings. He insisted that tap water and electricity would be available for them to use during their stay at Thammasat.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-26

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