Prime minister orders officials to take immediate action in flood-affected provinces
A priority list of flood-relief provisions was issued yesterday by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to immediately tackle the problems faced by flood-affected residents, via a network of local administrative bodies under Interior Ministry supervision.
The eight provisions, implemented on the direct orders of the prime minister, are divided into immediate and post-flood action, including the prevention of flooding in key areas not yet inundated. Other areas to be dealt with include the repairing of roads and damaged public property, the inspection of flood-caused damage, security for people in flood shelters, post-flood medical treatment, and the prevention of water-borne diseases.
Yingluck, who as defence minister is head of the Defence Relief Operations Centre, has also signed an order to activate a large number of military-owned water pumps and other pieces of flood-prevention equipment to be used in flood drainage operations in Chachoengsao, now heavily submerged.
The pumps are also being used in eastern and western Bangkok to drain away shallow floodwater.
After two days of heavy rain brought by Storm Nari, Chachoengsao is now severely flooded. Residents living along the swelling Bang Pakong River have either been evacuated or moved to the second floors of their properties. The situation could worsen during the peak high tides on November 6-8, as the province is near the Bang Pakong Estuary.
The national flood update said yesterday that a total of 22 provinces have now been flooded, covering 4,109 villagers in 93 districts. Meanwhile floodwater in another 24 provinces is dissipating.
The flood-caused casualties reached 61 yesterday with a total of 674,952 people in more than 236,757 households affected by the national disaster. Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said water gates run by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, especially those located in the suburbs, would remain closed for the time being to curtail flooding in the capital.
However, they would later be opened to help ease flooding in neighbouring provinces, including Chachoengsao, he said.
Kabin Buri district in Prachin Buri - the first province to suffer from this year's floods on September 17 - is still heavily inundated, with average floodwater levels recorded at 1 metre. Three other districts have also recorded average floodwater levels at 80 centimetres.
Meanwhile, the Chao Phraya River in Ayutthaya has swelled another 5cm, but has not yet reached a critical level.
Seven of Ayutthaya's 16 districts have been declared disaster zones, entitling them to a portion of the Bt40-million emergency-relief budget.