Flood situation improving: Thai PM

The flood situation in Bangkok is getting better with water receding in many places, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday, although she declined to say how far the flood water would stray into inner Bangkok and whether the Bangchan Industrial Estate will be safe.

Yingluck said the flood situation in Bangkok would be less severe than in the provinces, although there will be a high-tide period in mid-November. She said water drainage in the west of Bangkok needs further improvement.

Answering a reporter's question on how far she expected the water to reach inner Bangkok, the premier said, "It's difficult to say. I have to see the situation on November 13 [today] first as we are doing something to prevent the flood and we need to see to what extent it works."

If the water is drained to Saen Saeb Canal and the sluice watergate can work well, everything would be all right, she said.

Earlier, in her weekly television and radio programme, the prime minister said the "big bag" barriers - the temporary flood-prevention dykes made from 1-2 tonne sandbags - could delay water coming from the north of Bangkok, allowing time for better water management to the east of the capital.

Yingluck said she had ordered the Royal Irrigation Department to drain the water in the upper areas of the big-bag line to Rangsit Canal and then to the sea as soon as possible.

Besides the order for the Interior Ministry to give help and compensation to residents of the areas affected by the use of big bags, which would slow down water drainage from their areas, the government had provided 70 large pumps, according to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's request, so that water can be drained faster.

The water drainage must be done quickly while the sea tide is not so high, she said.

In the west of Bangkok, Yingluck said, the repair of broken dykes at 14 points was expected to be finished by the weekend.

If successful, then water trapped in Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and the west of Bangkok should recede.

It is hard to make the west of Bangkok flood-free as the dyke system on this side is not as strong as in the east of Bangkok, she said.

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