Flooding continues to inflict hardship on southerners as residents count economic damage

national January 31, 2017 01:00

By The Nation

FLOODS TRIGGERED by heavy rainfall in Prachuap Khiri Khan and 11 southern provinces over the past month have affected 1,815,618 residents and caused 95 deaths with three people still missing.



Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department (DPMD) chief Chatchai Phromlert said yesterday that the floods had also damaged 4,314 roads, 348 bridges, 165 state offices and 2,336 schools.

Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, Songkhla and Phatthalung remain affected by flooding with 104,350 residents impacted.

Ranong, Krabi, Trang, Chumphon, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani are now recovering from the inundation, Chatchai said.

As rainfall diminishes in the South, the DPMD has coordinated with flood-hit provinces to mobilise personnel and equipment to badly affected areas and to channel floods into the sea, he said.

Officials had also been instructed to keep in mind future demand for water and the possibility of a drought this year, Chatchai added.

DPMD deputy chief Kobchai Boon-orana, who presided over the opening of a Bangkok meeting of relevant agencies, yesterday focused on integrated disaster risk assessment. He said agencies were draining floodwaters into the sea and surveying the damage, including roads that needed repair.

Agencies would also widen drainage pipes underneath roads to reduce flooding in the future.

Kobchai said the risk-assessment system should be developed along with measures such as dredging canals, adding that Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha had urged officials to consider city plans and ensure that new construction does not block waterways and drainage channels.

Many families have been forced to suspend their children’s education after many rubber plantations in Trang were damaged by floods. Muang and Kantang districts, both on the Trang River, are still under one-metre-deep floodwaters that have submerged farmland and homes, affecting approximately 1,500 people.

Likhit Nunan, 66, a resident of Tambon Nong Trud, said his son had attended Trang Physical Education College for one year but had been forced to stop classes for a month already because Likhit could not earn money by tapping rubber at his employer’s seven-rai (1.12-hectare) plantation due to heavy rains and flooding.

He said in the meantime he had been collecting morning glory and water mimosa for sale to provide for his family of five.

 

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