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King to visit flood victims, open irrigation projects

His Majesty the King will tomorrow visit victims of last year's flood in Nonthaburi by boat before heading back to Bangkok to preside over the inauguration of five royally initiated irrigation projects.

The ceremony will take place at the Irrigation Department's headquarters in the capital even though the projects are located in five provinces.

His Majesty and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn are scheduled to leave the riverside Siriraj Hospital, where he has been undergoing treatment for several years, at 4.30pm. The Angsana, provided by the Navy, will take the royals northward on the Chao Phraya River and pass through the Lad Kret and Om Kret canals so that they can visit people hit by last year's flood crisis.

The muchbeloved monarch and his daughter are expected to reach the Irrigation Department at about 6.45pm. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and other top officials will report on the five irrigation projects to His Majesty.

At 7.05pm, a multimedia presentation on the projects will be given.

At 7.40pm, governors of the provinces where the irrigation projects are located will lead local officials and people in paying their respects to the royals. His Majesty will view the proceedings via a video link.

At 7.50pm, His Majesty will place his hand on the symbols of the five projects to mark their official inauguration while still on the boat. After that, thousands of people in the five provinces will form a "Long Live the Royals" message to express their devotion to the King and Princess.

After the ceremony ends, the Angsana will return the royals to Siriraj Hospital.

Pol MajGeneral Anan Srihirun, deputy Metropolitan Police commissioner, said more than 200 officers would be deployed to provide security for the boat trip.

When the Angsana sails under the Pinklao, Rama VIII, Krung Thon, Rama VI and Rama VII bridges, they will be closed to traffic, he said.

The cruise will cover a distance of 30 kilometres. People can gather along the riverbank of the Chao Phraya to catch a glimpse of His Majesty and the Princess.

In Kalasin, where the Lam Payang Bhumibhat Diversion Tunnel will be inaugurated, the locals were excited about the prospect that their expression of loyalty to the King could be covered and relayed to Bangkok for His Majesty to witness via the video link.

"Tens of thousands of people are expected to turn up at the spot covered by the video link during the inauguration ceremony," Governor Somsak Suwansujarit said.


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