The Nation


Hospitals warned to brace for runoff from the North

Staff ordered to try to keep working

Public Health officials warned 124 hospitals in 13 provinces in the Chao Phraya-Pasak River basin to brace for runoff from the North yesterday, as floods ravaged the upper part of Thailand.Permanent secretary for Health Dr Paijit Varachit, who inspected Nakhon Sawan's Chumsaeng Hospital and Sing Buri's Inthaburi Hospital yesterday, said staff at 124 hospitals were ordered to implement four plans from the ministry. The hospitals were in Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Chai Nat, Lop Buri, Sing Buri, Angthong, Nakhon Pathom, Suphan Buri, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Bangkok.The plans were: to prevent hospitals from being flooded, if possible, so they can continue serving people; assist patients to stockpile resources, such as of oxygen and food to last about one week; transfer seriously ill patients; and adjust services in the face of floods. This involves setting up medical units in a city's four corners and dispatching mobile medical teams. Paijit went on to say that 80 mobile medical teams sent to 15 flood-hit provinces found 10,000 people sick with flood-related illnesses, such as Hong Kong foot, flu and rashes. Some 23 people had been killed in eight provinces, seven of them in Mae Hong Son, he said. Six medical facilities were also submerged. The ministry had dispatched 91,000 sets of medical supplies to the flood-hit provinces and prepared another 500,000 sets at a central agency just in case, he said.In Sukhothai, Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation chief Preecha Doungboonma said that from Monday up till yesterday more than 76,200 residents in 536 villages and nine districts had been hit by floods with two people killed, while 180,984 rai of farmland, 10 schools and eight temples were damaged. Floodwater about 50cm-deep remained as time of press in Sawan Khalok, Sri Samrong and some parts of Mueang districts, he said. Overflows from the Thung Thalae Luang in Mueang district, which was four million cubic metres beyond its 32 million cubic metre capacity, also caused a 1.5m-deep flood to 30 homes in tambon Ban Kluay.Sukhothai Governor Jakkarin Plianwong estimated flood damage of at least Bt500 million and said that the volume of water over the past two days was about 2,500 cubic metres per second, compared to the previous flood in early August, which was 1,800 cubic metres a second. With runoff from Phrae having passed, it was expected that, if there was no more rain, the situation should be stable in two to three days before returning to normal.In Phitsanulok's Bang Ra Kham district, runoff from Sukhothai caused extensive flooding of riverside homes. People could only use boats for transport, while the Yom River, at time of press, was at 8.5 metres - beyond the critical point of 7.15 metres, and continuing to rise by 10-15cm per day.In Phichit's Pho Prathap Chang district, some 100 houses and 10,000 rai of farmland in tambon Wang Chik were submerged, while 50cm of water on roads meant small vehicles could not pass. Another 100 houses at Ban Noen Yung Thanon in tambon Rang Nok were cut off from the outside world by torrential floods.In Lampang, provincial governor Uthan Chavamethee yesterday declared 13 districts as flood disaster zones, as 495 villages in 85 tambons were hit by floods and currently recovering. In Mae Prik district, 70 riverside houses in Ban Wang Samran were under about 1.5 metres of water. One man was reported missing in flooding in tambon Thung Pheung in Jae Hom district seven days ago.Phrae province estimated the Nock Ten storm-triggered flood damage in eight districts at Bt200 million-300 million. AIS Co is due to deliver 20 boats to the Phrae governor tomorrow morning to assist flood-affected residents.The Udon Thani Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office yesterday concluded that the Nock Ten storm caused 143,809 rai of farmland and 1,257 fish ponds to be submerged and affected 51,327 households in 1,110 villages in 14 districts. HRH Princess Bajra Kitiyabha graciously delivered relief bags to two monks and 492 flood victims at Ban Wanglao in Na Yung district yesterday afternoon, before also visiting two very sick female residents at their homes.

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