NINETEEN PROVINCES are struggling with flooding and about 300,000 people have been affected, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said yesterday amid a litany of grim statistics. They include 10 deaths.
Department director-general Chayapol Thitisak reported that, from October 10 until Thursday, 78 districts in 23 provinces had been flooded, affecting 125,116 households – an estimated 324,962 people.
A total of 67 districts in 19 provinces were currently dealing with floodwaters, with 113,497 households or 296,380 people affected, including 20 families that had been driven from their homes, he said. They are Chiang Mai, Tak, Sukhothai, Phichit, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Sing Buri, Lop Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Chai Nat, Suphan Buri, Nong Bua Lamphu, Khon Kaen, Maha Sarakham, Kalasin, Roi Et and Ubon Ratchathani. Chayapol said his department was working with related agencies to provide aid and drain floodwater. People in need or in danger can call the hotline 1784 at any time.
In Ang Thong’s Pamok district, the Chao Phraya River burst a flood levee, sending floodwaters to 200 homes in Moo 1 in Tambon Pamok late on Thursday night. Wat Amphawan in the village was also under almost two-metre-high water.
As the Chi River in Kalasin kept rising, Governor Kraisorn Kongchalard yesterday instructed officials to pile up sandbag barriers at risky spots and watch out for flooding in the three riverside districts of Rong Kham, Kamalasai and Khong Chai. The Wang Yang Dam's level in Khong Chai was 34 centimetres from the level measured in 2011, when Thailand witnessed its “worst flooding in half a century”. The dam is now open to release water at 101 million cubic metres per day.
In the meantime, a Bailey Bridge was installed between Ban Huy Thong and Ban San Pu Loei in Chiang Mai’s San Pa Tong district yesterday to temporarily replace the one that had been destroyed by the Tuesday flash flood, said Department of Highways chief Thanin Somboon. The bridge installation would be completed later in the evening, he said, urging people to alert officials via the hotline 1586 about any other flood-damaged bridges.
Municipality workers and Kudeethong community residents in Tambon Tha Wasukree of Ayutthaya’s Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya yesterday built a 1.2-metre-high earthen levee in a bid to protect their community and two other villages, a total of 600 homes, as the Chao Phraya River kept rising.
In Nonthaburi, the possibility of flooding prompted the municipality of Nakhon Nonthaburi to cancel its annual Loy Krathong festivities and traditional boat races at the Nonthaburi Pier, VoiceTV reported on Thursday. The cancellation was due to fears the Chao Phraya River would rise further, as parts of the pier area are already awash with the downstream current and seasonal inflows of seawater, and pumps have been installed in preparation for worse.
In a related development, the Royal Irrigation Department yesterday dismissed as misinformation the rumour spread online that the department would hasten water release from Chai Nai's Chao Phraya Dam to flood Bangkok and nearby suburbs. The department affirmed in its statement that it had water management under control. The department said it has maintained water release through the dam at 2,697 cubic metres per second since October 23.