Flood victims brace for discharge as dykes threatened

national August 01, 2017 01:00

By The Nation

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FLOOD victims in several Northeastern provinces are bracing for rising floodwaters as water is discharged from local reservoirs.

The Lampao Dyke in Kalasin province yesterday increased the volume of water discharged from 20 million cubic metres to 35 million cubic metres a day. 

Downstream areas of Kalasin including Yang Talat, Kamalasai, Khong Chai, Muang Kalasin and Rong Kham districts have been directly affected. 

Interior Ministry permanent secretary Grisada Boonrach said residents in the nearby provinces of Yasothon, Chaiyaphum, Roi Et and Ubon Ratchathani would also be affected. 

“We have to increase the volume of discharged water because, as of now, the Lampao Dyke is already 84 per cent full,” Royal Irrigation Department deputy director-general Thongplew Kongjun said yesterday.

“We need to release water to maintain the structure. We also have to take into account the fact that more rain is coming.” 

Even with only 20 million cubic metres of water discharged from the Lampao Dam, more than 30,000 rai (4,800 hectares) of paddy fields along the Pao River are already flooded. Several other dykes in the Northeast will also have to release huge volumes of water to protect the integrity of the structures. 

The Nam Oun Dyke in Sakon Nakhon yesterday held 641 million cubic metres of water – 23 per cent higher than its capacity. In the same province, the Nam Pung Duke held 171 million cubic metres of water, or 4 per cent more than its capacity. 

Last Friday, the Huai Sai Khamin Dyke in Sakon Nakhon held 3.05 million cubic metres of water – 27 per cent more than its capacity – when its structure failed and it burst. 

Sakon Nakhon is among the worst-hit provinces. According to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, 12 provinces are flooded, nine of which are in the Northeast and three in the Central region. 

People across the country have raised donations for flood victims. In Yala province, donated items will be loaded into a C130 aircraft and sent to Sakon Nakhon tomorrow, the day that Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha is scheduled to inspect the situation in the province.

The military is also working with relevant authorities to deliver assistance to flood victims.

While more pumps are being used to increase the water flow out of inundated parts of the Northeast, authorities have estimated that it will take at least a week to drain the floodwaters. 

However, rain brought by Tropical Storm Sonca has abated. 

Sakon Nakhon Airport, which suspended services on 3pm last Friday, is now open. 

Airports Department director-general Darun Saengchai said the airport was reopened at 9pm yesterday, with the first flight expected to land at the runway this morning.  

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