North, Northeast warned to brace for floods

Rains persist though Pakhar downgraded

An economic area in Nakhon Sawan's Nong Bua district has been flooded on Monday, the fourth time this year. (Photo by Chalit Phumrueng)

People in the North and Northeast, especially along the Mekong River, have been warned to brace for possible flooding even though tropical storm Pakhar has now been downgraded to a low-pressure system.

Districts in Nakhon Phanom province including That Phanom, Tha Uthen, Ban Phaeng, and Mueang; and also areas consisting of 100,000 rai of rice fields along the Mun and Songkhram rivers are at high risk of inundation because of the continuous heavy rain, officials said yesterday.

The Mekong River risks overflowing since the discharge of water by tributaries has been slow, the officials added.

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation office in Nakhon Phanom also warned cross-river ferry operators between Laos and Thailand in affected areas not to carry too many passengers as high water levels and rapid currents in the river will make accidents more likely.

Labourers work around the lip of a shaft leading to a giant concrete tunnel which is currently being tested as it begins to take in water from six Bangkok districts yesterday. The system will be fully operational on Sept 6. Photos by Apichart Jinakul

In Ubon Ratchathani province, heavy rain will continue today, according to the Meteorological Department. People living in low-lying areas and areas around the base of mountains should brace for possible heavy downpours and flash floods. Local authorities also warned drivers to drive carefully.

People living along the Mun River were advised to prepare for floods since the level of the river remains worrying because of the influence of storm Pakhar. Communities in Muang and Warin Chamrap districts were especially at risk, the department added.

In the North, in tambon Tha Ton of Chiang Mai's Mae Ai district was hit by flash floods yesterday caused by heavy rain. Five houses and 10 rai of agricultural plantations were badly damaged. The Chiang Mai governor warned people about the potential for severe flooding.

In Lampang, the water level has returned to normal after more than 40 households in Hang Chat district were submerged on Sunday in the wake of flash floods. Officials assisted locals by using pumps to remove water from their homes.

However, locals in the affected areas were unwilling to bring their belongings down from higher ground because of fears of fresh inundation.

In Uthai Thani province, 200 rai of plantations and roads in and out of tambon Suk Ruethai in Huai Khot district were submerged after continuous downpours and flash floods.

The business area in Nong Bua district of Nakhon Sawan province was also hit by flooding and heavy rain. This is the fourth time that locals have suffered from flooding this year.

Although there was little damage, residents complained bitterly about inefficient drainage.

The water level in the Chao Phraya dam is rising continuously because of inflows from the North. People living in Sing Buri, Ang Thong, and Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya provinces were advised to closely monitor the situation.

Army chief Chalermchai Sitthisad, also National Council for Peace and Order secretary-general, urged all agencies to be ready to help assist people affected by the floods.

Furthermore, he ordered the Engineering Department of the Royal Thai Army to prepare plans to construct roads in and between communities, to be used to transport agricultural products.

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