Banglamung, army talk flood-disaster planning

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Banglamung District and military began mapping out disaster-relief plans should severe flooding strike this rainy season.

Col. Yuthichai Tiernthong, deputy commander at the 14th Military Circle, and District Chief Chakorn Kanja­wattana led the meeting attended by local authorities, Royal Thai Navy, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department and private organizations July 1.

Banglamung District and military meet to begin mapping out disaster-relief plans should severe flooding strike this rainy season.
Banglamung District and military meet to begin mapping out disaster-relief plans should severe flooding strike this rainy season.

The purpose of the meeting was to collaborate with various agencies and organizations to counter natural disasters, especially floods from the heavy rain showers.

Chakorn said last year’s tropical depression Vamco was devastating. It also had an impact on tourism and the main problem was that the drainage system couldn’t handle the massive amount of water. That issue must be looked into, he said.

Acting Pattaya Mayor Chanapong Sriviset said drainage tunnels were too small and the city’s wastewater-treatment plants can handle only 65,000 cu. meters of water a day, about 15,000 cu. meters less than needed.

Sawoksima Annantayakorn, head of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, said Pattaya was hit badly by storms three times. Many properties were damaged and lower-lying locations were under water. However, the department has already jumped on the case and come up with three strategies.

The first plan is to direct most floodwater along the railway road into canals, preventing it from rushing into town. Second is to locate seven pumps in heavily flooded areas, and finally allocate more money to buy more pumps.

Pattaya currently is expanding its drainage tunnels, clearing out canals and encouraging people not to dispose of rubbish in drains. Moreover, local authorities are on standby for critical situations to assist residents when needed.

Planned flood-related initiatives – not all of which have received funding – include creating higher walls and barriers along the Naklua Canal (14.9 million baht); higher walls along the South Pattaya Canal (58 million baht); a proper drainage system along the railway road (810 million baht for the first phase); expanding existing drainage tunnels in nine zones around Pattaya (3.4 billion baht); and opening of disaster-relief centers (300 million baht).