|By Chadamas Chinmaneevong, Bangkok Post,
ThailandMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 14, 2011--Hotels and restaurants along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok are preparing to protect their properties from inundation, with sandbags, pumps and other contingency plans at the ready.
Francis Zimmerman, general manager of the Bangkok Marriott Resort & Spa, said the hotel was near the main flood-prevention wall erected by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). In addition, it has its own comprehensive plan to protect the premises. A team monitors water levels every 30 minutes and places sandbags at some vulnerable areas.
Mr Zimmerman said it was still business as usual at the hotel without any service disruption. Only one small group has postponed a conference scheduled for next week to late November or early December.
"It's unfortunate to see the floods in so many parts of Thailand. We hope the flood won't happen here and we're confident that the BMA and the government are well prepared to ensure safety for Bangkok residents and tourists," he said.
The hotel has prepared safe areas for guests and if conditions become unsafe, the guests will be evacuated. It has seven boats to use if necessary.
The Mandarin Oriental released a statement saying it had not been affected by rising water to date. It has flood management measures in place and the safety of staff and guests is its primary concern.
The terrace of the riverside hotel is 1.2 metres higher than the road level and as high as the dyke. The hotel has built its own 20cm dyke on top of the terrace and placed a 50 m wooden wall on the top of the dyke. Consequently, the terrace side is now 1.6 metres higher than the road.
A 60cm-high sandbag wall was built within the compound of the hotel. Normally the hotel is 30cm higher than Charoen Krung Road. Therefore the flood wall facing the road is 90cm higher.
Sompratana Prasitsart, general manager of Supatra River House Restaurant, said it had built a wall to protect its property. But concerns about massive inundation in Bangkok have resulted in clients cancelling 80% of total bookings, even though the October-December period is the peak season for restaurants along the river.
"We expected revenue of three million baht this month but we dare not project it right now," said Ms Sompratana.
The River King Cruise, a daily tour from Bangkok to Ayutthaya with food on board, has stopped its services for seven days with losses so far of 441,000 baht. Dining on the docked boat is the only way to generate revenue, but client numbers have dropped more than 50%.
Asiatique the Riverfront, a multi-purpose project, has five big water pumps and has invested 100 million baht in water management. Construction continues around the clock as long as Charoen Krung Road is not flooded.
(c)2011 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)
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