There is nothing much to report overnight – it may well be that the water movements are now taking place underground and so are more difficult to track. Water has come as far as the Thai Rath building on Viphawadi-Rangsit road and, I am told, has gone a little further. Din Daeng is also affected and the u-turn close to Mahidol College of Management is affected (not sure to what extent – it may still be passable but caveat tractor).
It has also begun spreading to Saphan Khwai - most of Chatuchak is under water an out of action but the Sunday market apparently went ahead as normal. As for Ladprao, there is nothing new to report. We are still clear at 64 and I have not heard anything about new water in the higher numbers.
We’ll see what happens next.
The number of deaths attributed to the flood has suddenly leaped to 506 - no explanation is provided for this sudden jump. There is little else to report – the water continues on its way and the media are trying to build up some kind of argument between the BMA and the elected government (with the former representing virtuous, authoritarian elites and the latter representing spendthrift, populist politicians with the probably infernal ability to encourage people to vote for them repeatedly in their many millions). It’s a lazy and obviously overblown story.
Pawana junction, according to a sign posted (presumably by the police at our junction) has water at 30 cm and the road is blocked off at Chok Chai 4. There was a report that it will no longer travel by road but will move underground and emerge from the drains. However, there are many reports of different things.
Presumably it will be a case of staying at home tomorrow but we will see how it goes.
Well, it is Saturday now and the world is being cut off from Ladprao, the beating heart of Bangkok. The flood has reached Chokchai 4 (and, I heard, Pawana Junction) and the Ladprao Road is closed in that direction to the mouth at the Viphawadi-Rangsit junction next to Central Ladprao (which is closed).
There is also water at the Sutthisan junction and it is scheduled to reach our office in the Voice TV Building before the day is out. I suspect it will be a while before I have a chance to return to the office, therefore.
We will be depositing the in-laws in the hospital again tomorrow and then waiting it out. The little girl’s unversity is now due to re-open for classes on the 28th and I expect that other schools and colleges, ours included, will also follow the same plan. We shall see.
No crocodiles or snakes have been spotted in our vicinity but it is never too soon to panic, obviously.
Central Ladprao is now closed and there is water on the surrounding roads. Police are there blocking traffic coming from Mo Chit – you can still turn right (as I did to our office) or else left – not sure how far Viphawadi-Rangsit is passable in that direction.
There is not a huge amount of water – a few cm on most of the roads but it seems to be deepening from the various pools that have formed. Photos on the Bangkok Post website show that the roads on the other side of the junction are up to perhaps 10 cm deep.
It will not be long, presumably, before the water starts to enter the mouth of Lad Prao road itself, if it has not already done so.
As ever in Thailand, any genuine information is almost drowned by a mass of half-truths, rumours and gratuitous obfuscation. However, the traffic is, apparently, backing up around the Ladprao-Ratchada junction, suggesting that the water is causing problems on the road past the court and the SCB plaza.
An aggregate of reports over the past few weeks suggests that the water progresses at an average of 2 km per day – which would mean it would reach Ladprao 64 about teatime tomorrow. However, there are other rumours about water already reaching the ‘other side of the road’ – that is, odd numbered sois and that the klong has overflowed on that side. Well, going over our stretch of the klong this morning showed that that it was at a more elevated level than when I walked past last night and was moving quite quickly. It was not overflowing but it was not that far from it – if there were a large increase in water, then it would come over the top but we are led to believe that the water level is either remaining constant or decreasing slightly.
On the other hand, there are other reports of ‘sabotage’ of dikes and illegal blockages of canals and so forth so we might receive some unwanted surprises (who would benefit from undermining the credibility of the democratically elected government?).
Let’s see what happens over the rest of the day – Mme is probably going to want to leave early and pull up the drawbridge.
The news now is that a leak in the Lak Hok barrier is allowing water to move towards Ladprao, while (from a different cause?) water is flowing from Ratchayothin and Viphawadi Roads towards the Ladprao junctions at a rate described by different sources as ‘within a week’ or ‘two hours.’
Sandbags, the giant ones I think, are being deployed to hinder the flow of water and, as and when it does arrive, we are advised to expect no more than 50 cm. As I have noted before, less than 50 cm and we (speaking from a purely selfish point of view here) will be OK, although discommoded and possibly stuck at home for a couple of days. That in itself would be fine if the electricity and water supplies hold out – patience will also be a virtue in such circumstances.
Well, let’s see how it plays out over the course of the afternoon – repairs to the dikes etc as well as proper management should help to drain off more of the water, improving the situation for just about everyone – which brings us to the question, who is really damaging the dikes? We are informed by the gutter press (and we do not have any other) that it is ‘ill-intentioned’ poor people acting selfishly. Who else might benefit from chaotic scenes and the declaration of a state of emergency? Who is usually responsible for the bombings, arson attacks, sabotage and other criminal acts that undermine the rule of democratically elected officials?
Owing to local failures in dikes and overcapacity, the water continues to spread to new areas (and indeed is closing in again on Ladprao, the Heart of Bangkok). The water is not moving very quickly – it seems to have to halt at a variety of hindrances, where it builds up and then can suddenly overwhelm local defences and inundates a new area.
The FROC people have pointed out that the tides are lower for the next week or so and the total amount of water involved is declining. However, there is still a great deal of water to be drained into the sea or else retained in ponds and so forth and it will take a few weeks before all is squared away in Bangkok.
Viphawadi-Rangsit road is closed from Wat Samian Naree out and the water continues to seep into sois behind Viphawadi Hospital. It is advancing along several roads. Authorities are working to repair holers in dikes and to reposition the giant sandbags (2.5 tons, according to some sources) to protect various areas. It will be a long job.
According to the websites that purport to show which parts of the city and the surrounding countryside are flooded, Ladprao is under water – which is not, in fact, strictly speaking the case. It may be the case that the status is triggered by an incident somewhere in the region covered or it might just be a mistake.
In any case, Bangkok of course is subject to very localized weather (and probably water-related) phenomena. It might be raining overhead but, just down the road, it will be perfectly clear. The same is true when there are the normal, rain-caused floods: our soi tends to be one of the first to flood but if you can make it to the mouth of 62, then it is generally all OK. As far as I can tell, the same is happening all over the city. Areas which are suddenly affected, as Kasetsart University was yesterday, tend to be open, relatively flat places where the water can swiftly rage about, devouring whatever it may.
In other cases, there are breaches in the dikes or ‘human action’ causes a sudden opportunity for the water to enter. These provoke sporadic and mostly localized events, which may not be much comfort for local residents but helps explain what is happening.
Well, the first high tidep oint of the day has passed without undue incident – there is due to be another around 7ish tonight, which should be slightly lower. If we get past today and tomorrow, according to official reports, we may see things beginning to slacken off.
The big picture is that 381 people are now dead because of the floods nationwide and more will presumably die because of diseases and other misfortunes. Millions are homeless or have lost large proportions of their possessions, thousands face loss of their jobs after the industrial estates were flooded and all kinds of unforeseen results will be revealed in the months to come.
More if there is anything more to report.
Well, we in the Ladprao heartland have made it to Saturday afternoon without being flooded. Until the past few days, the word had been that there will be a high tide around 6 this evening which will be the defining feature of the next few days. However, today the papers are (perhaps as a result of having had very little to say for the past few days) full of completely contradictory and often wholly incomprehensible reports. That is, apart from the opinion pages, which are united in the claim that the government should be giving full, clear and 100% accurate information about incredibly complex issues which are going to happen in the future.
I’ll post again if there is anything reliable to report.
There seems to be an emerging consensus that the flood patterns are not going to be changing significantly before the high tides on Saturday evening – although there are some reports of increasing levels around the periphery of areas already suffering.
The FROC is planning a slightly desperate sounding plan of converting four major roads into canals in the event of the worst case scenario, while those in the imminent path of flooding if it does occur are working out how to cope – the market vendors of Chatuchak are facing this exact problem.
Reports from Suvarnabhumi and the bus stations are that large numbers of people are seeking to get out of the city before the weekend – although that is not possible for all migrant workers, of course.
From our perspective, Ladprao and its immediate environs remain dry as of now, which is Friday just before lunchtime. We have moved some stuff upstairs and taped some furniture up which cannot be moved. We are fully, arguably over-stocked with food (remind me to tell of how much this has cost me so far) and await tomorrow afternoon and the height of the Chao Phraya: 2 metres, 49.9 cm, result happiness; 2 metres 50.1 cm, result misery.