Flood barrier bid to protect ancient Ayutthaya temple

national September 24, 2016 01:00

By THE NATION

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AUTHORITIES are preparing to set up an emergency flood-prevention barrier to protect the ancient Wat Chaiwatthanaram temple in Ayutthaya province as heavy rains continue to lash Thailand.



Fine Arts Office 3 director Pratheep Pengtako said the Chao Phraya River was now only one metre below bursting its banks at the location of the Unesco World Heritage Site.
He said the department was preparing to set up a flood-preventing barrier to protect a key ancient site.
Due to rains and northern runoffs, the Chao Phraya Dam has released 1,500 cubic metres of water per second, resulting in the river rising, which is posing a serious flood threat to the world-renowned site.
Officials were also preparing to set up a fence, reinforced by sandbags and covered with waterproof canvas, to form a 2.5-metre-high and three-metre-long flood barrier at the area of the temple nearest the riverfront, he added.
In Ban Ban district, farmers raising fish in riverside floating baskets were hit by the rising waters. Retired soldier Captain Jaroon Naksilp said his 120,000 ruby fish in 60 floating baskets were destroyed by strong torrents before he could harvest and sell them. 
Chao Phraya River overflowed in Ang Thong’s Pa Moke district which led to flooding at Wat Sa Kaew where monks and volunteers built sandbag barriers around rice that was being stored for orphans. 
Provincial governor Weerawut Putrasreni yesterday inspected flood-risk areas along the river in Pa Moke, Muang and Chaiyo districts. The most risky was Pa Moke’s Tambon Phong Pheng, as the province’s lowest point and sections had already given way to torrents. Some 20 per cent of the surveyed 40km-long riverbanks were at risk, Weerawut said. He instructed officials to tell residents to move belongings to high ground and prepare boats and other tools to aid victims.
The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department announced officials were aiding residents in flood and landslide-hit Chaiyaphum, Phang Nga, Kamphaeng Phet, Phetchabun, Nakhon Ratchasima, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok and Nong Bua Lam Phu and said that 23 districts in seven provinces had so far been declared as flood disaster zones.
Meanwhile, eastbound trains from Bangkok suffered a two-hour delay yesterday due to floods inundating a track section between Bangkok’s Makkasan and Klongtan stations. Chachoengsao Train Station head Natthakan Meesomya urged commuters to use other transport.
In Samut Prakan province, overnight downpours led to up to 20cm-deep flood and traffic jams on many roads yesterday including the six-kilometre-long Soi Baring.
Continuous rain in Krabi’s Ao Luk district prompted Than Bok Khorani National Park to bar tourists from entering its famous waterfall for the second day yesterday, while some farmland and two roads in the district were also flooded.