PM orders urgent assistance for Sukhothai


BANGKOK, Sept 10 – Officials in the old capital of the Sukhothai kingdom were instructed Monday to urgently help flood-affected residents, and a flood prevention expert blamed the flood on a deteriorating wall, and not the flood management system.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ordered the governor of Sukhothai and disaster relief officials to be proactive, especially in flood-hit areas.

Royon Jitrdorn, member of the Water and Flood Resources Management Committee, said that Sukhothai, 440km north of Bangkok, is capable of taking flood water at 800 cubic metres/second and the latest water level reading was one metre lower than the anti-flood dyke.

The anti-flood barrier is too old, he said, and water flowed under it into the provincial seat. He described it as a “local problem,” and not a water management failure.

Mr Royon predicted another round of rainfall later this week and expressed confidence in successful prevention of floods as planned.

Regarding last week’s downpours which saw increased levels of water in many Bangkok canals, he said four consecutive days of drainage since last Thursday had prevented many Bangkok areas from flooding.

“However, we could not drain out the water as much as we like, or riverbanks may be damaged,” he explained.

Lertviroj Kowitwattana, director general of the Irrigation Department, said major dams in the North will have enough storage capacity for rainfall in the region.

If it rains below Bhumibol Dam (in Tak) and Sirikit Dam (in Uttaradit), flooding on several rivers is possible, he said, adding that the Irrigation Department has been on alert to drain out excessive water to Rangsit field for eastern and western Bangkok.

Water was drained out of the Rapipat canal in eastern Bangkok in late August. Klong Rapipat’s drainage capacity is 210 cubic metres per second.

He gave assurances that the Chao Phraya River can take in more water. The river, the lifeline of Thailand’s central plains, has a storage capacity of 30-50 million cubic metres.