PM cancels overseas trips due to flood, orders evacuation in case of emergency


BANGKOK, Oct 9 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra cancelled trips to Malaysia and Singapore, earlier scheduled next week due to the national flood situation while ordering immediate evacuation in case flooding cannot be contained.

Ms Yingluck said she and the foreign minister are worried about flooding in the country, so she cancelled trips to Malaysia and Singapore, earlier scheduled for Oct 11-12, to focus on helping people in the country as the first priority.

Chairing the meeting at the National Relief Flood Center in Don Mueang on Sunday morning, the prime minister was concerned over new storms approaching the country, ordering Nakhon Sawan, Chai Nat, Singburi, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi to build and reinforce dykes protecting the provincial seats and business areas.

The Ministry of Transport and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) were assigned to build a 34 kilometre-long flood prevention wall to the east of Bangkok.

Inspectors, the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning, and provincial governors  were tasked with cooperating to consider protecting important parts of each provinces and to evacuate locals immediately if the situation could not be contained. They will report their plans at their next meeting at 6 pm Sunday.

After the morning meeting, Ms Yingluck launched a caravans of trucks carrying 2,000 sets of flood relief supplies, 12 mobile toilets, 300 life jackets, 2,000 bottles of drinking water, 1,200 tents, and 65 boats to flood-stricken areas.

A working committee of police was tasked with evacuations and the Ministry of Interior was assigned to oversee flood relief operations in Lopburi and Nakhon Sawan.

A flood hotline set up by 1111 (press 5) has received more than 40,000 calls. Most callers asked for information while almost 500 callers asked for help with more than 200 having been assisted.

She also assigned the Ministry of Industry to protect industrial zones, saying about ten plants in the Rojana Industrial Estate have been affected by a damaged dyke but that the situation could be contained. The premier said calculations of the amount of water was not inaccurate, but that obstacles in building dykes had caused problems for flood prevention.