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Gaemi leaves Ratchaburi soggy

Ratchaburi is still reeling from the impacts from the weekend's low-pressure cell that was tropical storm Gaemi.



Hundreds of families along the Mae Klong River had to move to higher ground after the storm caused heavy downpours in Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi and other provinces.

Ratchaburi bore the brunt of the storm because the Tha Muang Dam in Kanchanaburi released a huge volume of water, which went downstream to Ratchaburi, where the Mae Klong was already swollen by locally heavy rains.

Tents were erected yesterday to provide temporary shelters to Ratchaburi's flood victims.

Muang Ratchaburi Mayor Samanan Laowanichwisit inspected the flood damage and expressed concerns about the victims.

She instructed officials to monitor the situation around the clock, and ordered the building of sandbag walls and the use of pumps to quickly drain the floodwater.

Ratchaburi Irrigation Project director Kanit Chinnawong expected the situation to return to normal within one or two days.

Chatchai Promlert, director general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, reckoned that Gaemi brought heavy downpours and flooding to many provinces.

However, Chatchai said, the rainfall had eased the risk of drought in the Northeast.

Although the flood-hit residents of Ratchaburi and Kanchaburi were not happy with the situation, they accepted it to an extent, Chatchai said.

"At least they have been evacuated to safe places," he said.

Royol Jitdon, an expert on the Water and Flood Management Commission, said preparations for Gaemi allowed relevant authorities to provide timely evacuations.

Gaemi's impacts were also being felt in Bangkok and Samut Prakan, Royol said, adding that he was confident flood risks would be curtailed even during the high tide, which starts on Monday.

In addition to the flooding, there's now cold weather to deal with.

Chatchai said the government had already instructed provincial authorities to prepare necessary measures to protect those at risk of the cold.

"We have conducted surveys to identify where the risky-group members live. In event of emergency, rescue missions will give priority to the elderly, the disabled and pregnant women," he said.


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