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Bangkok is sinking because of overcrowding

Bangkok is traditionally hit by flash floods and the capital’s administration is considering remedying the situation

If Bangkok’s mayor’s office can’t solve the city’s flooding problem, no one can, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha. The statement came amid a warning from Thailand’s Meteorological Department about heavy rains, strong winds, and more flooding until May 24, the Bangkok Post reported.

Heavy rain on Wednesday, May 18, caused traffic in Thailand’s capital to be difficult, and the prime minister expressed concern that the problem would recur while assuring that government agencies were working hard to solve it.

However, Chan-ocha acknowledged that the main cause of the problem is overcrowding, which interferes with the city’s drainage system.

“Bangkok is overcrowded, and that’s a problem we have to solve. If we can’t solve this problem, we won’t have a chance to solve other problems,” General Prayut said.

Khachit Chatchavanit, permanent secretary of the Bangkok administration, said the three underground reservoirs installed in different parts of the city are still functioning, even though they have been blamed for much of the capital’s flooding problem.

“Each water bank has a capacity of 2,000 cubic meters. It can’t be drained immediately after the tank is filled, but yesterday we were able to drain the water as soon as the rain stopped,” Khachit said. On Wednesday, he apologized to Bangkok residents affected by the flooding.

Khachit said he wanted another water tank installed to prevent flooding in the city. He assured that he had instructed all district offices to help those affected by the disaster.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varavut Silpa-archa said that branches of his ministry were ready to assist flood-stricken areas and had stocked up on food, drinking water and emergency evacuation kits. Varavut assured that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment would dredge rivers and their tributaries to alleviate floods caused by the release of water from the Chao Phraya Dam.

He also answered questions from reporters, noting that the Ministry of Transport and the Maritime Department were studying the flooding situation in the Thai capital and would join forces to solve any problems.

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