Sep 23, 2013
(Reuters) - More than 600,000 Thais have been affected by flooding since July and more than a quarter of Thailand's provinces have been inundated, prompting officials to issue landslide warnings and begin evacuation measures on Monday.
Devastating floods in 2011 killed more than 800 people and caused massive disruption to industry, cutting economic growth that year to just 0.1 percent.
Four people have been killed in this year's flooding. More rainfall is expected later this week.
"Due to a heavier-than-usual monsoon season, 21 provinces are now experiencing flooding. We have issued a warning about landslides and have told boats in the Gulf of Thailand to be vigilant," Chatchai Promlert, chief of Thailand's Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, told Reuters.
Parts of Ayutthaya province north of the capital, Bangkok, have been deluged by up to a metre of water, he said. Ayutthaya town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where several ancient temples were badly damaged in the 2011 floods.
Many huge industrial estates in Ayutthaya and other provinces on a plain north of Bangkok were inundated in 2011.
At least 10 provinces in Thailand's central plains, the main rice-growing region, have been affected by the floods but the extent of any damage is not yet known.
The flooding has hit in harvest season and output is likely to be affected, but there has been no official comment yet.
Plodprasop Suraswadi, a deputy prime minister, said he was confident there would not be a repeat of the 2011 floods, which at one stage threatened to engulf Bangkok.
"Water levels in our dams are low enough to handle any extra rainfall," Plodprasop said.
Municipal authorities have ordered sandbags stacked around shops and homes and extra water pumps have been installed in many areas.
In Prachin Buri province, 135 km (85 miles) east of Bangkok, more than 700 inmates from a prison were evacuated on Sunday and transferred to other facilities nearby after their cells were flooded.
The national disaster department said it was offering assistance to residents in flood-affected areas, including the provision of life-jackets and boats. Those living in low-lying areas have been advised to move to higher ground.
Thailand is buckling & being pushed down resulting in flooding, Thailand will lose 40 feet in elevation by the completion of the ongoing 7 of 10 plate movements
If the loss of 40 feet in elevation is not devastating to the Philippines, it is to the coastline of southern Burma, Tailand, and Cambodia, which have vast areas that will suddenly and permanently be flooded.
Where Bangkok is certainly low land, so low in elevation that it would be under water with a mere 10 foot rise in sea level, there are many regions in SE Asia just as low who are not experiencing flooding. If Thailand's flooding were due to rain from a tropical depression, then why are all the neighboring countries with a similar elevation not flooded too? Vietnam south of Ho Chi Minh is far more vulnerable, and for a broader area, yet is not in such distress. Note the mountainous regions to the east and west of the valley in central Thailand. We have mentioned that when a plate tilts, rising one side and sinking on the other, that this plate may bend where the plate is thin. This is happening to some degree in the Coral Sea off the east coast of Australia, where the bending plate causes an uneven rise there beneath the buoys. It is also true that thin places on a plate can give rise to buckling when that plate is under compression, being squeezed. The tongue holding Indonesia is certainly under such a squeeze. As the tongue is pushed together, the eastern portion pushed toward the west, the valley in central Thailand is buckling, being pushed down. Simultaneously, a new seemingly volcanic island appeared between eastern Java and Bali, where the tongue is under pressure as it is being pushed down under the curve of the Indo-Australian Plate. Where this is causing extensive volcanic activity in Sumatra and Java, it is also finding weak places in the plate holding Indonesia, which can buckle in such a manner as to rise. The new island is indeed volcanic in origin, having been formed years ago under the sea, but is no longer an active volcano. Thus, rising land, due to buckling, is the only explanation. The squeeze is acting like an accordion, as it comes together. Some parts rise, some parts fall during the compression.