Central region floods worsen


ANG THONG, Sept 14 – Thailand’s flood situation in several central provinces worsened Wednesday as a dam in Singburi burst, forcing the evacuation of thousands of local residents.

Bangchomsri sluice failed, flooding Ban Mi and Tha Wung districts in the adjacent province of Lopburi.

Excess water overflowed the flood barriers and sandbag embankments. Children and the elderly had been evacuated to safe areas following the earlier flood warning from the authorities, while the Ban Mi-Khok Samrong road flooded and is impassible. Crops have been hard hit by the flooding.

Flooding is spreading in the central provinces as the water level in the Chao Phraya River, the country’s main river, which runs through the great central plain, continues to rise.

In Angthong, floodwater rose five centimetres in all areas Wednesday morning, submerging main roads leading to the provincial seat, and disrupting traffic at the Pamok intersection.

The Chao Phraya River overflowed its banks, flooding portions of highway 309, partly closing the thoroughfare to traffic with flooding as deep as 50 centimetres, making the road impassable to small vehicles.

Some small vehicles could not pass. The water level in the Chao Phraya River passing Ang Thong was measured at 3,354 cubic metres per second Wednesday morning, 150 centimetres higher than yesterday.

In Ayutthaya, the swollen Chao Phraya River inundated many villages in Bang Pa-in district early Wednesday morning. Most residents had moved their belongings to higher ground after local authorities warn of the rising water.

Meanwhile, Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra on Wednesday expressed confidence that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) can deal with the flood, but he remained concerned regarding 27 flood-prone riverside communities outside flood prevention walls.

The governor said that the flood situation in the capital is under control.

Despite heaviest rainfall last Sunday, BMA officials and workers were able to drain water off low-lying areas effectively and traffic on the main roads was not disrupted.

The BMA has closely monitored the situation in 27 riverside communities outside the flood dyke-protected zone and the eastern and western parts of Bangkok which are lowland areas, according to the governor.

Still, the BMA is concerned about the water situation in the Chao Phraya River by late Occtober when the water level is forecast to rise due to high tides combined with the northern run-off, the governor added, explaining that the situation will get worse if it rains in Bangkok during that time.

He ordered the officials and agencies concerned to brace for flooding, to be on standby around the clock to assist affected residents and to provide flood-related equipment, sandbags and medication.

Meanwhile, Suthawut Temthub, a spokesman for the Million Years Stone Park & Pattaya Crocodile Farm at Chonburi beach resort told reporters that one more crocodile was recaptured from a pond in Bang Lamung district, raising the number of reptiles recaptured to 29.

Dozens of crocodiles escaped Monday from the enclosures that housed some 200 of the creatures after the flood eroded rupture beneath the enclosure’s wall.

He said the farm was notified by local residents that a three-metre crocodile was found hiding in a pond. The staff successfully captured it in an hour and returned it to the farm.

The crocodile farm has so far retrieved 29 of the reptiles, but the search continues. The spokesman announced that the public should notify the farm if stray crocodiles are found, and warned them not to try capture the crocodile themselves for safety reasons.