Sunday, October 30, 2011
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra believes the overall flood situation in Bangkok will improve in the next few days although floodwaters have begun to spread to fresh areas in the capital.
WASHED OUT: Water continues to surge into Don Mueang airport, raising the flood level on the runways to between 80 and 90cm yesterday and forcing the Flood Relief Operations Centre to relocate.
The prime minister yesterday said the volume of run-off spreading from the north of Bangkok to the capital's inner areas is less than expected, although the overall water mass is still substantial.
She said the Flood Relief Operations Centre (Froc) and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration are working together to drain floodwaters into Khlong Thawi Wattana and Khlong Saen Saep.
She said a close watch is being kept on sea tides over the next few days and authorities would speed up the drainage of water to the sea.
"The situation should improve after Monday," she said.
Bangkok's western side, seen here from a US Navy helicopter, is one of the worst-hit parts of the capital, and could remain flooded for up to a month.
Anond Snidvongs, director of the Geoinformatics and Space Technology Development Agency, said the authorities could drain up to 70% of northern run-off reaching the capital of 200-300 million cubic metres per day. This would cause rising water levels of five centimetres a day on average.
The situation will carry on for about four weeks before stabilising.
Meanwhile, floods are still hitting Bangkok in the north, the west and the east.
Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday said floods are threatening Wang Thong Lang, Lat Phrao and Chatuchak districts, which have been placed under special watch.
Khlong Lat Phrao has now overflowed and inundated canalside communities in Wang Hin and Saphan Lek in Lat Phrao. The water in those areas is between five to 10cm high.
On Phahon Yothin Road, overflow from Don Muang reached Wat Phra Sri Mahathat in Bang Khen.
There are now 10,794 evacuees at 84 shelters in 22 districts of the capital. Officials have identified 225 gathering points in the event Bangkok residents will have to leave the capital.
Floodwaters have continued to rise in Thon Buri. Residents are evacuating from Thawi Watthana district.
Heavy floods are also forcing City Hall to prepare to evacuate residents from some areas of Taling Chan district after overflow from Khlong Maha Sawat inundated part of the Suan Pak area.
City Hall has also called for evacuations in Bang Phlad, which is mostly flooded.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority announced yesterday it would reduce tap water production in Thon Buri area to 600,000 cubic metres per day from 900,000 cubic metres due to heavy floods which affected the quality of raw water.
The authority will supply tap water twice a day, at 6am-9am and 5pm-8pm.
Pheu Thai MP Uthen Chartpinyo, who chairs a Froc committee overseeing efforts to drain floodwater, suggested all the west-facing sluice gates allowing run-off to flow into Khlong Saen Saep in Bangkok must be opened to divert water into the city's underground drainage tunnel in the Rama IX area.
Mr Uthen said sluice gates at Bang Chan and at Khlong Sam Wa in eastern Bangkok may have to be dismantled to allow run-off to flow into the tunnel.
Deputy Bangkok governor Thirachon Manomaipibul said yesterday the BMA has asked the Provincial Waterworks Authority and the Industry Ministry to supply equipment for use in "water siphoning techniques" to drain floodwater from lower ground to higher ground in eastern Bangkok.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The capital's 50 district offices have been told to prepare for evacuations as northern Bangkok's last line of defence is close to being breached by flood water.
His Majesty the King grants an audience to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday at Siriraj Hospital for her to report on the flood situation ravaging the country.
The red alert was sent out by Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday after inspecting the floodwall at Muang Ake housing estate in Pathum Thani's Muang district — less than 15km north of the city.
The governor warned 27 communities in eastern Bangkok would probably be hardest hit.
The floodwall has been built with more than 200,000 sandbags. It is 3km long and stands 1.5m high.
City Hall workers yesterday were sent to reinforce the embankment and make it 30cm higher.
"If the water keeps rising, I am not sure if it can prevent flooding. If not, we cannot save Don Muang," MR Sukhumbhand said.
"All zones in Bangkok stand an equal chance of being flooded because we can't predict the water flow.
"Right now, everything is under control.
"If we can't control it, we will let people know straight away."
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said about 8 billion cubic metres of water from Nakhon Sawan is expected to reach Ayutthaya tomorrow and the run-off would probably enter Bangkok soon after.
"We must speak the truth," she said, adding the government will do everything it can to divert water to the east and the west of Bangkok and drain it out to sea.
Ms Yingluck said the three floodwalls protecting the inner city are expected to be completed by today.
Around 1.7 million sandbags have been brought in to build and strengthen floodwalls at Muang Ake housing estate, Rangsit Khlong 5, and in the Taling Chan area behind the Salaya campus of Mahidol University.
Areas outside the protected zone are flood-prone but water will quickly drain away, she said.
Race against time Military personnel bring more sandbags to strengthen flood barricades to try to save the floodravaged Bang Bua Thong market in Nonthaburi’s Bang Bua Thong municipality.
Efforts to prevent flooding will continue in provinces where prevention is possible.
For areas where floodwalls are breached, evacuation plans must be in place, she added. "Priority must be given to the safety of the people before protecting their property," she said.
Wim Rungwattanajinda, spokesman for the flood relief centre, said the government has ordered the Irrigation Department to step up efforts to drain water in western Bangkok and eastern Bangkok to the Gulf of Thailand.
Northern run-off will be diverted to western Bangkok through Khlong Phraphimol, Khlong Lat Pho, Khlong Maha Sawat and Khlong Phasi Charoen before the water is drained out to the Tha Chin River and the Gulf.
The Irrigation Department has been instructed to put in place water pumps to divert water from the canals to the Gulf and to open more than 20 water gates along the Tha Chin River and the Chao Phraya River to drain water to the sea.
Mr Wim said emphasis will be placed on diverting water from Khlong Maha Sawat, which directly connects with Tha Chin and Chao Phraya, and this could affect canal-side residents. However, the situation will improve after Sunday, he said.
Nation's floods concern the King
His Majesty the King has expressed his deep concern for people affected by floods nationwide, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday.
She made the statement after an audience with the King at Siriraj Hospital yesterday evening.
The King also stressed the importance of draining water in eastern Bangkok, Ms Yingluck said.
The government was stepping up efforts to dredge canals in eastern Bangkok to drain run-off to the sea, in line with the monarch's advice.
She said she will today inspect the western part of Bangkok to identify canals which could help drain floodwaters.
The Royal Thai Police Office puts 10 helicopters on standby at Don Mueang airport in Bangkok yesterday to help flood victims.
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha inspects a floodwall at tambon Lak Hok in Pathum Thani’s Muang district yesterday.
Prized singing birds in hand, residents of tambon Lak Hok of Muang district in Pathum Thani leave their flooded homes for emergency shelters yesterday.
Thai soldiers and civilians worked frantically to shore up sandbag defences on the northern edge of the Bangkok on Tuesday.
The action came after the city's governor warned that the threat posed by the worst flooding in Thailand in half a century was not yet past.
"Every second counts," said Gov Sukhumbhand Paribatra, saying more than one million more sandbags were needed.
His warning came despite government confidence the threat was subsiding.
At least 315 people have been killed and tens of thousands left homeless in the floods, which have inundated two-thirds of the country since July. A third of Thai provinces remain under water, reports suggest.
Analysts say the floods - which have hit the country's extensive manufacturing infrastructure - are likely to cut annual economic growth by more than one percentage point, but this could double if Bangkok is badly hit.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and government ministers had expressed confidence that the threat to the capital had peaked but Gov Sukhumbhand - from a rival party - warned that it was still in danger.
Late on Monday, he said a 6km (3.7-mile) flood wall running along the northern edge of of the city suburbs was vulnerable to massive streams of run-off flowing from provinces north of the city into the Gulf of Thailand, AP news agency reported.Navanakorn warning
He said the wall needed to be reinforced by 50cm (20 inches) by Wednesday night, saying that the central government had promised to supply more sandbags but urging residents to help produce yet more.
On Monday, the authorities ordered one of Thailand's oldest and largest industrial estates, Navanakorn, to be evacuated, after floodwaters overwhelmed defences at the site, which houses global manufacturers including Casio, Nestle and Toshiba.
Officials now say about 10% of the site is under water. Authorities have warned residents in low-lying eastern suburbs of the capital that sluice gates upstream might be opened to spare the site more flooding, AFP news agency reported.
"It's necessary to save places of economic significance while sacrificing less important areas," Justice Minister Pracha Promnog, director of the government's flood relief centre, said according to AFP.
Friday, October 7, 2011
PEA REANG, Cambodia: Massive floods have ravaged vast swathes of Asia's rice bowl, threatening to further drive up food prices and adding to the burden of farmers who are among the region's poorest, experts say.
About 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) of paddy fields in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos have been damaged or are at risk from the worst floods to hit the region in years, officials say.
Heavy rains in Laos and Cambodia have also led to big losses in recent weeks, and experts say flood waters have now drained into Vietnam's Mekong Delta, a key global rice producer, making it the latest to be inundated.
Further west, flooding of rice and other farmland in Pakistan's arable belt has cost that country nearly $2 billion in losses.
"The whole region will now suffer from rising food prices as potential harvests have now been devastated. The damage is very serious this year and it will be some time before people can resume normal lives," Margareta Wahlstrom, the United Nations chief of disaster reduction, said in a statement.
Cambodian rice farmer Nou Nem, 30, standing waist-deep in water in his rice field at Pea Reang east of Phnom Penh, said the water has "destroyed everything".
"I'm worried we might not have enough rice to eat this year and next year," he told AFP.
In Thailand, the world's biggest rice exporter, where 244 people have died in the floods, about one million hectares of paddy -- roughly 10 percent of the total -- have been damaged, officials say.
The flood damage comes on top of worries about the impact on global rice prices of a new scheme by the Thai government to boost the minimum price farmers receive for their crop.
Vietnam meanwhile is the world's number-two rice exporter and the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam accounts for half the country's production.
"The upstream waters have begun to drop slightly but here they are rising three to five centimetres (1.2 to two inches) daily," said Duong Nghia Quoc, director of the agriculture department in Dong Thap province.
Dong Thap and neighbouring An Giang, which abut Cambodia, have been the worst affected in the delta.
Vietnamese officials say 11 people have died, about 27,000 homes are flooded and nearly 6,000 hectares of rice have been lost.
Officials earlier said 99,000 hectares were "at risk" in Vietnam.
"Agricultural production is seriously affected this year by the floods that were, in fact, worse than our forecasts," said Vuong Huu Tien, of the flood and storm control department in An Giang, where thousands of soldiers have been mobilised to reinforce dykes and help residents reach safer ground.
In Cambodia, more than 330,000 hectares of rice paddy have been inundated, of which more than 100,000 hectares are completely destroyed, said a senior official at the Ministry of Agriculture.
Ngin Chhay said the "big loss" was likely to affect this year's rice surplus, which was expected to reach some three million tonnes.
Cambodia, where more than 160 people have been killed in the floods, exports only a fraction of total rice production but the crop accounts for about 7.5 percent of gross domestic product.
Laos, one of Asia's poorest nations, has also suffered, according to reports in state-controlled media there.
Tropical storms which struck since June killed at least 23 people in the country and damaged more than 60,000 hectares of paddy, the reports said.
In late September more crops suffered after a dam on a tributary of the Mekong released water to lower its rain-swollen levels, the Vientiane Times reported.
Vo Tong Xuan, a Vietnamese rice expert based in the Mekong Delta, said a major contributor to this year's floods has been the unusually heavy rains in Thailand and Laos, which drain down through the Mekong.
Experts say the delta's expanding system of dykes adds to the problem. They "prevent water circulation in some places but provoke floods in others," said Bui Minh Tang, a weather forecaster.
Vietnam News, the communist state's official English-language daily, reported that the lost rice crop in Dong Thap province alone was worth $2.7 million.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
There are three important silk textiles in Cambodia. They include the ikat silks (chong kiet in Khmer), or hol, the twill-patterned silks and the weft ikat textiles. Patterns are made by tying natural and synthetic fibers on the weft threads and then it is dyed. It is repeated for different colors until the patterns firm and cloth is woven. Traditionally, five colors are used. Red, yellow, green, blue and black are the most used. The Sampot Hol is used as a lower garment and as the sampot chang kben. The Pidan Hol is used as a ceremonial hanging used for religious purposes.
Sot silk weaving has been an important part of Cambodia's cultural past. It has been documented that people from Takéo Province have woven silk since the Funan era and records, bas-relief and Zhou Daguan's report have shown that looms were used to weave sampots since ancient times. Since ancient times, women have learned highly complex methods and intricate patterns, one of which is the hol method. It involves dying patterns on silk before weaving. What remains unique to Cambodian weavers is the uneven twill technique, the reason remains unclear why they adopted such an unusual method. The ancient bas-reliefs however provides a complete look at how fabrics were like, down to patterns and pleats. Silk woven pieces are used as heirlooms, in weddings and funerals, and as decoration in temples.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Rescuers are scrambling to reach people who have been stranded for days on their rooftops following two typhoons in a week.
The authorities are still trying to evacuate people amid a threat of further flash floods and landslides in the aftermath of typhoon Nalgae.
At least 52 people were killed and thousands made homeless after Typhoon Nesat hit the country on Tuesday.
Nalgae has followed the same route, killing at least three people.
The death toll is expected to rise following Nalgae's six-hour rampage on Saturday across areas of the main Luzon island already waterlogged by Nesat.
Nalgae has now moved into the South China Sea and is heading towards southern China with winds of 81mph (130k/ph) and gusts of 99mph (160k/ph).'Big problem'
Hundreds of residents in the farming town of Calumpit, north of Manila, have spent four days on the roofs of their homes to escape the rising flood waters - running short of food and water.
Rescue workers on rubber boats could not reach them because of narrow alleyways, and two air force helicopters were deployed to drop water and food packs to the marooned villagers, the Associated Press reports.
"We have a very big problem here," Calumpit Mayor James de Jesus told ABS-CBN TV network. "We're facing a long flooding".
Benito Ramos, of the Office of Civil Defense, was inspecting the situation in the town, and warned that more water - flowing down from the nearby Cordillera mountain range - could exacerbate the problem.
He called on anyone "refusing to leave their homes, to let the authorities evacuate them".
Nalgae made landfall in the eastern province of Isabela on Saturday. At its strongest it was packing winds of up to 195km/h (121mph).
It followed the same route as Nesat, which had already affected more than 2.4 million people.
More than a million people had moved into evacuated centres, while others sought refuge at the homes of relatives and friends. Thousands were reportedly trapped on the roofs of their homes as Nesat barrelled across the island.
Provincial disaster official Raul Agustin told ABS-CBN television that marooned flood victims were often reluctant to leave for fear their homes would be looted.
"When we send out rescue teams to help them, they ask for food instead," he said.
The Philippines suffers frequent typhoons, about 20 a year.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Traditional dress in Cambodia is similar to traditional dress in neighboring Laos and Thailand. Sampot is the lower garment worn by either sex. The sampot for urban lower class and peasant women is a tube-skirt (sarong) approximately one and a half meters in length with both ends sewn together and is worn wrapped around the waist and secured with a cloth belt. Women of the middle and upper classes preferred to wear the sampot chang kben on a daily basis until the beginning of the twentieth century. This rectangular piece of cloth is approximately three meters long and one meter wide and is worn by first wrapping the cloth around the waist and stretching the ends away from the body. The outstretched ends are then twisted together and pulled between the legs and toward the back. The ends are tucked into the waist at the back, and the sampot chang kben is lastly fastened with a cloth or metal belt. Women of all social strata wear the sampot chang kben on special occasions such as religious ceremonies and weddings. Men also wear the sampot chang kben, but the traditional textile patterns worn by males differ from those worn by females. Traditionally, neither women nor men wore an upper garment. However, when the French colonial presence grew in Cambodia in the late nineteenth century, both men and women began to wear upper garments.
Even after the French presence in Cambodia from the 1860s onwards, Cambodians continued to wear traditional clothing. The Cambodian royalty and government officials combined the shot silk sampot chang kben (in the appropriate color for the day of the week) with a formal . In the beginning of the twentieth century, Cambodians adopted forms of western style clothing such as a blouse or . Men more readily adopted trousers as the lower garment for daily use, and both sexes continue to wear the sampot chang kben for formal occasions. Lower class and particularly rural women still wear a tube-skirt, but the material may be printed batik-patterned cloth bought at the market rather than hand-woven silk or cotton.
The most important silk textiles of Cambodia are the ikat silks (hol), twill-patterned, weft ikat textiles. The pattern is made by tying vegetable or synthetic on sections of the weft threads before the threads are dyed. This process is repeated for different colored dye baths until the patterns are formed and the cloth is woven. The two types of hol textiles have five traditional colors: red, yellow, green, blue, and black. The sampot hol is the lower garment mentioned earlier, made from hol cloth (hol cloth can also be used for sampot chang kben). The pidan hol is a ceremonial hanging reserved for religious or sacred purposes.
The pidan hol is an example of excellent craftsmanship. It may be presented to a Buddhist temple or hung it in homes to create sacred space around the family's personal shrine. In a temple this textile is hung behind, above, or around the base of, a Buddha image. The narrative motifs of a pidan hol often depict tales of the previous lives of the Buddha.
The various ethnic groups of Cambodia also produce cotton material for religious clothing and other purposes, such as for and for various household textiles. The royal courts also imported Indian chintz with patterns especially for the Southeast Asian market.
The kroma is the all-purpose utility cotton cloth used by either men or women throughout the country as a head or neck scarf, belt, or towel. It is also used as a bag to carry things. This rectangular textile has a checkered pattern, usually blue and white or red and white, with striped ends. Political groups such as the Khmer Rouge have used the kroma to symbolize membership.
The Cham, an Austronesian group, are highly skilled silk weavers who produce cotton tube-skirts or sarongs for both men and women. Three or four hundred years ago, the Cham reportedly used to produce batiks (wax resist-dyed fabrics) in cotton similar to that of their kin in insular Southeast Asia. Cham women weave a checked or plaid cotton sarong for men. Natural or white cotton is important in Cham religious activities; it is worn by Cham priests and used as a sacred object during religious ceremonies.
Other Mon-Khmer and Austronesian minorities living in the northeastern region of Cambodia weave cotton cloth on back strap looms for clothing and domestic use. The groups of both of these linguistic families weave similar textiles by attaching the warp beam of the back strap loom to a or part of a house in order the achieve the lengths of woven material needed for their loincloths.
The male loincloth is approximately 20 to 25 centimeters wide and 3 to 7 meters long. It is indigo blue or black with large red warp stripes and smaller yellow and white warp stripes. Supplementary patterns also decorate the stripes. The ends of the loincloth are patterned with red bands with supplementary patterns of animal or plant motifs. Red tassels and lead, glass, or plastic sometimes decorate the edges and ends of the loincloth. Men of the various Mon-Khmer linguistic groups sometimes wear a blanket over a shoulder during rituals, but otherwise do not wear an upper garment. Occasionally, men wear a simple tunic made from plant fibers such as bark cloth or banana leaves. These plant-fiber tunics are reported to have been more common when the technology to weave cotton was not familiar to these groups. It is now rare to find clothing made from these fibers. Men of the Jarai and Ede Austronesian minorities wear a collarless shirt of indigo or black cotton adorned with red yarn or metal beads on special occasions.
Women of the different ethnic minorities wear tube . The long tube-skirt is worn tucked in around the breasts and is made from two pieces of material sewn together to form a tube. The shorter version is made from one piece of cloth sewn into a tube and is worn tucked in at the waist. The color scheme of the women's tube-skirts is similar to that of the men's loincloth. Women either do not wear an upper garment or wear a simple tunic made from a single piece of cloth with a hole cut in the middle of the textile for the head and the sides sewn together leaving open spaces for the arms. Ede women add sleeves to the tunic and decorate them with red yarn and metal beading.
As with other Khmer and Cham ethnicities, the minority groups of northeast Cambodia presently reserve traditional dress for special occasions. Textile production in Cambodia has experienced disruption because of political conflict, particularly during the Khmer Rouge regime of the late 1970s. Textile production increased in the calmer conditions at the beginning of the twenty-first century, encouraged by renewed local and foreign interest in hand-woven textiles, particularly in mastering the dyeing and weaving of the pidan hol produced prior to the twentieth century.