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Bangkok will be flooded in 20 years, expert warns

Bangkok will be flooded in 20 years, expert warns

Thailand's capital, Bangkok, will be under water in 20 years because of rising seas from global warming and subsidence, says a top Thai climate expert who warned of a tsunami years before the 2004 disaster.
"If nothing is done, Bangkok will be at least 50 centimeters to one meter under water," Smith Dharmasaroja, head of Thailand's National Disaster Warning center, said in an interview.
Bangkok, a sprawling city of more than 10 million people and criss-crossed by more than 1,000 canals, is between 1 meter and 1.5 meters above sea level and is sinking into its soft, loamy soil at an alarming rate, he said this week.
Smith, giving his scenario for Bangkok in 2025, is renowned in Thailand for controversial predictions.
He was dismissed as a crackpot for his tsunami warnings years before the 2004 Indian Ocean disaster which killed 5,395 Thais and foreign tourists on its Andaman Sea coast.
The problem, he says, is two-fold.
The city is subsiding at a rate of 10 centimeters per year, partly due to excessive pumping of underground water.
Global warming is causing seas to rise and there is evidence of severe coastal erosion just downstream from Bangkok.
His comments come as scientists and government officials from around the globe are meeting at a U.N. conference in Bangkok to work out ways to fight climate change and curb the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.
To avert disaster, Smith said, the city needed to construct a massive dyke to protect it from rising seas and increasingly violent storms.
"The system has to be started right now. Otherwise it will be too late to protect our capital city," he said.
As if to highlight the threat from flooding and bad weather, the capital has been hit by an unexpectedly early start to the rainy season. An intense storm has also caused widespread flooding in parts of southern and central Thailand.
Asked what was being done to avert disaster, Smith said: "The government does not pay any attention at all."
However, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says it has made flood control a top priority in recent years.


Updated : 2021-05-18 23:44 GMT+08:00