Thailand’s flood death toll rises to 13


BANGKOK, Aug 5 – Thailand’s floods triggered by tropical storm Nock-Ten have killed at least 13 while one person is missing, according to Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department Director-General Wiboon Sanguanpong.

The disaster response chief said that the 13 deaths included one each in Chiang Mai, Sukhothai and Udon Thani, seven persons in Mae Hong Son, two victims in Phrae and one person in Sukhothai.

Heavy rainfall flooded 16 provinces mostly in the North and Northeast, including Phrae, Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Nan, Lamphun, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Uttaradit, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Nakhon Phanom, Udon Thani, Nong Khai, Bung Kan and Sakon Nakhon and Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Mr Wiboon said the flooding affected over 235,900 households, damaged 217 homes, destroyed 449,631 rai (about 179,000 acres) of crops and damaged roads, dykes, bridges and that 474 livestock have drowned.

Regarding initial relief for the flood victims, provincial disaster offices have been urged to coordinate with related agencies and to urgently distribute relief supplies to the affected residents.

Local disaster officials were assigned to dispatch flat bottom boats to evacuate and provide needed equipment, and drinking water trucks to help flood victims.

Meanwhile, northern run-off flowed into rising Nan River, causing extensive floods in several downstream provinces along the river.

In Phichit, torrential water in the Nan River swept away an iron pontoon raft, used for building a bridge over the river, which was moored to the riverbank.

The raft stuck and damaged the foundations of a concrete bridge. The governor has worked to find the owner of the raft to salvage it. Commuters using the bridge are afraid the structure will collapse due to the collision.

The Yom River, carrying floodwaters from upper Phrae and Sukhothai provinces, has submerged paddy fields in Phitsanulok’s Phrom Phiram district. Farmers called for the government to respond to the problems caused by repeated floods in the area. The abbot of Ratburana temple in the provincial seat distributed necessities such food and water to local residents.

In Tak, forest run-off joined the waters of the swollen Moei River to flood Thasongyang district. The Third Army Region commander ordered Army Rangers to provide first aid to flood victims and to search for victims after reports that people along the Moei River were swept away with their houses and were probably drowned in the incident. All boats plying the river have been ordered to fly Thai flags to prevent misunderstandings by Myanmar troops.

The Chiang Mai disaster prevention and mitigation office estimated that the floods in the province were likely to cause at least Bt70 million (US$2.33 million) in total losses and damage.

In Lamphun, overflowing water from the Mae Kuang River continued to recede, but riverside residents remain worried about the possibility of more rain and run-off.