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Gaemi enters Thailand; downpours hit provinces

Downgraded to depression, but officials prepared to tackle floods and traffic jams

Tropical depression Gaemi has entered Thailand, spreading downpours over many provinces across the country.

Sa Kaeo, Buri Ram and Si Sa Ket are among provinces facing moderate to heavy rain even before the depression arrived last night.

Bangkok is now under the influence of Gaemi too.

The Meteorological Department said the capital would experience direct impacts of the tropical depression today.

"We are worried about flooded roads because they can cause traffic congestion," Traffic Police Division commander Maj-General Piya Tawi-chai said yesterday.

Traffic was paralysed in many parts of the capital last month in the wake of hours-long cloudbursts.

Relevant authorities in the capital are working hard to spare Bangkok commuters from any traffic nightmare.

Deputy Metropolitan Police Commissioner Maj-General Worasak Nopsittiporn said traffic police in the capital had already had pumps on hand to ensure that rainwater is drained from road surfaces as fast as possible.

"We have prepared basic tools to deal with vehicles that may break down on flooded roads," he added.

Piya said special attention would be paid to major flood-prone roads such as Sri Ayutthaya, Srinakharin, and Ratchadaphisek.

Water and Flood Management Commission chairman Plodprasob Surassawadee, who is also science minister, yesterday chaired a video conference on the preparations to tackle Gaemi.

Speaking after the meeting, Interior Ministry deputy permanent secretary ML Panadda Diskul said relevant authorities were told to be on full alert even though Gaemi was downgraded from a tropical storm. "We are taking proactive measures. We will ensure that people get early warnings and assistance wherever necessary," he said.

Panadda assured the public that the central government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration were working closely in preventing floods.

The Royal Thai Army (RTA) has now prepared 880,000 sandbags for Bangkok. Other units of the RTA have resources ready to help in flood relief and flood prevention.

Expected to be directly hit by Gaemi today are Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Phetchabun, Prachin Buri, Sa Kaeo, Nakhon Nayok, Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Chai Nat, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Suphan Buri, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkham, Bangkok and adjacent provinces.


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