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Bangkok Is Sinking, Experts Say That Most Of Bangkok Could Be Underwater By 2030
Thailand's government has been critisized for their handling of the recent floods, prompting the ruling Pheu Thai Party to set up a committee to study the possible relocation of the capital to another province less prone to flooding. Experts believe that flooding will be a more serious problem in the coming years. Bangkok is located on a natural floodplain, and the city is sinking at an average rate of 20cm per year. It is believed that unless serious steps are taken, parts of the city will be completely submerged by 2030.
Smith Dharmasaroja, the head of the National Disaster Warning Centre, is predicting that by 2100 Bangkok will be completely underwater. Dharmasaroja's forecasts should be taken seriously, in the 1990s he predicted a tsunami that would affect countries around the Indian Ocean, a decade before the 2004 tsunami that devestaded South Asia. One of his proposed solutions is that the government build a series of dykes along the coast of the Gulf of Thailand, a plan that would cost Thailand over $2bn. He says work should start immediately, otherwise it will be too late to stop the chain of events leading to an impending disaster.
The government's proposal to relocate the capital inland to nearby Nakhon Nayok, could be seen as a willingness to sacrifice Bangkok. Instead of spending money on battling the rising floodwaters and preventing future floods, the government seems to be focusing on a plan to bail out of Bangkok. Without a committment from the government and a proposed solution to prevent future flooding, it would be foolish for foriegn investors to invest any money in Bangkok in the near future. Residents of flood affected areas in Bangkok are furious with the response from their government, and they might be ill advised to spend any time and money rebuilding their damaged homes, in light of the fact that the government has no clear plan to prevent future flooding.
Relocating the capital is likely going to be a tough sell to the citizens of Bangkok, who make up the largest percentage of registered voters in any of Thailand's 77 provinces. If the current government fails to find a solution to prevent Bangkok from sinking, they will likely see thier chances of being re-elected sinking as well.