PM urges public not to worry about flood situation


BANGKOK, Sept 20 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today urged the Thai public not to worry about renewed flooding as the government is well-prepared for flood prevention measures.

Amid public concern with possible nationwide flooding as in 2011, the premier gave assurances of efficient flood prevention plans as she inspected a Bangkok sluice gate in Min Buri district.

She said she has instructed the Water Resources and Flood Management Committee to survey the lower areas of dams for water release operations in an attempt to prevent waterlogging, while the amount of water retained must be sufficient for public consumption and farming in the upper areas of the dams.

On Monday, the premier said, Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan will convene a meeting of concerned agencies including the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to follow up the water situation and prepare for any emergency.

She said a single command water management centre has collected related data, while the governors have authority to declare a disaster zone so that they can fully enforce disaster prevention and mitigation operations immediately.

“Please feel no worry,” urged the prime minister.

Regarding cooperation in flood prevention with the Bangkok governor, Ms Yingluck said there are some different technical views but these opinions can be addressed via the interior ministry.

The premier expressed hope that the water management issue would not be politicised.

Meanwhile, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department director-general Chatchai Phromlert said as of now, some low-lying areas have been affected by flooding — Ayutthaya, Lop Buri and Angthong. All related agencies in Bangkok and surrounding areas will meet on Monday to review flood prevention measures in at-risk areas in the Chaopraya Basin — where the monsoon could prevail.

He said the premier has assigned Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi to oversee the overall situation, while the governors will command the operations in their provinces. The premier will inspect the flood-affected areas herself.

Mr Chatchai said his department, on behalf of the interior minister, will cooperate with all agencies such as the army, the irrigation department, National Disaster Warning Center and the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute to deliver flood information to local residents.