WET SEASON WOES
Bangkok prepares for possible flood crisis
Pasak Jolasit dam 'full' but will let water out slowly due to sea tides
Floodwater from the Noi River in Ayutthaya’s Bang Ban district swirls around a Buddha image at Wat Traku School to a depth of two metres.
with floodwater from the North causing the Chao Phya River to rise and heavy rain continuing to fall, Bangkok authorities set aside Bt100 million yesterday to tackle a potential flood crisis.
Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin also instructed 50 district offices to set up operation centres and closely watch 350 flood-prone areas.
Apirak and General Boonsang Niempradit boarded a helicopter yesterday to inspect flooding in Greater Bangkok.
The high level of water in the San Saeb Canal forced operators of public boats to suspend operations.
Irrigation chief Samart Choknapitak said a slower release of water from the Pasak Jolasit Dam in Lop Buri should keep the flow under 2,500 cubic metres per second - thought to be a safe amount for Bangkok's flood barriers along the Chao Phya.
Meanwhile, heavy rain forced an Airforce C-130 plane - carrying 400 relief bags, 11,000 sets of food and drink, four boat engines and medical supplies for victims of floods in Phitsanulok - to suspend its flight.
In Tak's Ban Tak district, 200 villagers in Tambon Mae Salid were evacuated to higher ground away from the overflowing Wang River. At 6am, police and rescue teams saved 12 stranded members from one family just minutes before their two homes were destroyed by a 2-metre-deep torrent. The worst flood in a decade damaged 7,000 rai of farmland.
Residents of 11 villages in Phitsanulok's Bang Rakam district were grateful that HRH Princess Siribha Chudhabhorn sent trucks from the Princess Pa Foundation to cook them food. The trucks later helped other villagers in Phichit and Nakhon Sawan.
Bang Rakam had some 24,400 residents affected by the floods. Of these, 1,122 suffered pink-eye (conjunctivitis).
In Chat Trakan, Noen Maprang and Wat Bote districts, 392 people were found to have dengue fever - and one of these died.
In Phichit, where the Nan and Yom rivers inundated 356 villages and 28,473 rai of farmland in nine districts, Buddhist monks from 40 temples used boats to take alms.
In Pho Prathap Chang district, an opportunist offered rides on a banana boat in a flooded rice field at Bt50 per time.
In Nakhon Sawan, the Chao Phya burst its eastern bank on Tuesday night, inundating 1,000 homes, a market and several Chinese shrines. Many residents suffered pink-eye, flu and pneumonia, while six people were bitten by snakes.
In Sing Buri, the rising Noi and Chao Phya rivers flooded 80 homes and 8,000 rai of farmland in Tha Chang and Phrom Buri districts.
The Pasak Jolasit Dam, now at its full capacity of 200 million cu metres, will slow its release of water over the next few days to ease flooding in Ayutthaya, Saraburi and Bangkok, as high sea tides are also due this week.
Meanwhile, Pornnipa Limpapayom, secretary-general of the Basic Education Commission, gave a green light to flood-affected schools to adjust schedules for first-semester exams. Of 97 schools in Phichit, Phitsanulok and Nakhon Sawan affected by floods, nearly 40 had to close.
The Meteorological Depart-ment warned 15 provinces in the North, Central and upper South to brace for more heavy rain and floods over the next two days. The warning included Tak, Sukhothai, Phichit, Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Kanchana-buri, Suphan Buri, Ayutthaya, Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Ranong and Phang Nga.