Flood situation still worrying; death toll reaches 130

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BANGKOK, Sept 20 – Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation on Wednesday reported flooding is ongoing in 24 provinces and that total fatalities have now hit 130 persons, with two persons still missing since the country was majorly impacted by tropical storm Nock-Ten on July 25.

Flooding in many provinces is still worrying and is likely to intensify.

In Chai Nat, earthen flood protection dykes in the provincial seat collapsed, letting floodwater to flow into residential areas, commercial buildings, a school, resorts and farmlands.

The town’s elderly, handicapped and children were evacuated. Local authorities are assessing damage and cooperated with agencies concerned to repair the flood prevention embankments.

In Uthai Thani, government offices and houses are submerged. Only heavy and large vehicles, tractors and lorries, were used to carry civil servants and local people.

The Uthai Thani Juvenile and Family Court has closed from Sept 21 to 30 due to high flood level.

In Phitsanulok, flooding has extended in the provincial seat and many roads are impassible. Some local residents moved to stay at the roadsides with their pets.

In Lopburi, farmers harvested their paddy prematurely otherwise their crop would be totally destroyed by the flood.

In the Northeast, the flood situation in many provinces is critical. In Chaiyaphum, floods in ten districts began become foul. The number of patients with dengue fever, athlete’s foot, H1N1 flu and Leptospirosis has increased.

The Department of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation warned local residents in the North, Northeast particularly at foothills, in low-lying areas and near waterways to beware of heavy rain, flash flood and mudslide this week.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday met with agencies concerned to discuss and resolve the flood problem and to follow His Majesty the King’s advice to divert flood water to sea.

The monarch again recommended speeding the diversion of floodwater into sea as soon as possible and advised proper management of sluice gates to control flooding.

Four boats from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Royal Thai Navy, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT) began operations to divert water from the Chao Phraya River into the sea during high tide on Wednesday morning.

Due to northern run-off and forecast heavy rainfall in the Northeast from Sept 21-25, Suvarnabhumi Airport spokesperson Vilaiwan Nadvilai on Wednesday reported readiness for flooding on the grounds of the country’s main international airport.

Ms Vilaiwan said that the water situation in and around the airport remained normal.

According to the spokesperson, the airport has 23.5 kilometres of 3 metre high flood prevention embankments surrounding it, an efficient drainage system with two water pumping stations in the South of the airport, and retention ponds with a storage capacity of 4 million cubic metres of water.

Currently only one million cubic metres of water, 25 per cent of its capacity, is contained in the water retention area.

In addition, airport officials coordinated with the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) which has another eight water pumping stations south of the airport. The stations have the capacity to drain 30 million cubic metres of water per day from two canals.

The Royal Irrigation Department has well-planned measures to tackle possible floods in the area.