Sukhothai floods as levees break

Overflow from the Yom River hit the old capital of the historic Sukhothai kingdom early yesterday morning, breaking through eroded levees beneath flood walls to swamp parts of the city.

Officials and resources were urgently mobilised to help people in areas of Sukhothai municipality which were abruptly hit by the flooding.

The surging waters made many roads in municipal areas of Sukhothai's Muang district impassable, with the level more than a metre deep in some places. At least five schools suspended classes.

His Majesty the King has had disaster relief packages worth more than 760,000 baht, delivered to 1,500 flood-affected households in the province via the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation.

The government said water management at dams was still under control, and that the Sukhothai flood was due to the levee bases on which flood walls had been built breaking unexpectedly.

Sukhothai municipality's Wichian Chamnong, Ratchathani, Pracha Ruamjai, Khlong Tapetch, Phra Maeya and Tan Diew communities were inundated.

Local residents were forced to evacuate their belongings to higher ground.

Government offices, including the Sukhothai provincial hall, the provincial prosecution office and the Muang municipality office, were also swamped.

As floodwaters rose, the Provincial Electricity Authority decided to temporarily cut the water supply in several areas.

Workers from the municipality, local administrative bodies and a highway agency in Sukhothai toiled around the clock yesterday to put up large sandbags at locations where floodwater entered. Water pumps were expected to be turned on to drain out water from downtown areas after the floodwater is blocked.

Soldiers and border patrol police were mobilised to help local residents evacuate their belongings to safe areas and a rescue centre has been set up at Wat Ratchathani to help flood victims.

Nisarat Khlibo, 50, a vendor at a municipality-run market, said many vendors were caught off guard by the sudden flooding. By the time a flood warning was issued, she saw water gushing into the market. Her grocery shop was under water less than an hour after the warning was issued.

Royol Chitradon, a member of the Water and Flood Management Commission (WFMC), said the status of water management in major dams was in line with the commission's plan.

He said water level in the Yom River was still lower than the floodwalls in Sukhothai by almost one metre.

Floodwater was able to enter inner Sukhothai because lower parts of the levees were eroded by the flow of water.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who chaired the WFMC meeting yesterday, ordered the provincial governor and authorities to provide urgent assistance to Sukhothai residents, he said.

Ms Yingluck will visit the North on Thursday to inspect the flood situation.

Lertviroj Kowitwattana, director-general of the Royal Irrigation Department, said the North's major dams have the capacity to handle expected rainfall.

But if there is significant rainfall south of the Bhumibol Dam in Tak and Sirikit Dam in Uttaradit, several rivers may overflow, he said.

Over the past week, it rained heavily in several areas. In Phitsanulok, flood run-off has already reached Bang Rakam district, inundating more than 4,000 rai of farmland, a source said.

Thawit Luesingbun, head of Tabaek-ngarm village, said heavy downpours coupled with a huge volume of northern run-off caused Khlong Ket and Khlong Kam canals to overflow, submerging paddy fields in the village.

Luckily, he said, most farmers have already completed harvesting their crops.

In Ayutthaya, downpours and run-off badly damaged thousands of rai of paddy fields in Pak Hai district. The Noi River yesterday burst its banks, flooding riverside communities in Pak Hai with water levels reaching 30-50cm.

In Suphan Buri, three districts were under water after the Tha Chin River burst its banks. Days of heavy rain caused the river to overflow and inundate Muang, Bang Pla Ma and Song Phi Nong districts.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 13/09/2012 at 10:58 PM
According to the badly written science paper titled, "The river analysis simulation model for the planning of retention area and diversion channel for flood reduction in the lower Yom's river basin, Thailand," the reason for the annual Sukhothai floods is because of insufficient and poorly planned water retention areas.
Discussion 2 : 11/09/2012 at 07:29 PM
@nosunat, D40, You obviously weren't here last year.
Discussion 3 : 11/09/2012 at 06:21 PM
The central plains usually flood its banks and riverside communities at this time of the year, year in year out.It would be over sooner rather than later. Cheer up, chaps.
Discussion 4 : 11/09/2012 at 03:52 PM
I agree completely when it comes to "politicians" (of any party or color) ending their greedy ways and actually thinking of the people who voted for them in the first place. The problem is that there are too many roosters in the hen house, and most of them are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. It's high time they put people in places where they actually are qualified to be and not just because they are friends, family, or just to get a promotion and get a "bigger piece of the pie". There are committees for this and that, and "it" is only another way to make it look like things are being done when in all actuality it is just another job for someone who hasn't a clue about it to begin with. I wonder how many new committees will be created "when" and "if" another flood happens. And in all likely-hood, it appears to be heading once again in that direction.
Discussion 5 : 11/09/2012 at 03:09 PM
Discussion 33 I agree with you in some point but at the end of the day its PTP that has put the money up and look look into fixing this problem to which they clearly have not done Only the Goverment can be blame for years floods and lets all hope that the BMA have done a better Job then Goverment areas to control the floods
Discussion 6 : 11/09/2012 at 03:07 PM
PT need to wake up to the fact that they have responsibilities to Thailand other than looking after themselves. When you are in government, the buck stops with you and ignorance is no excuse.
Discussion 7 : 11/09/2012 at 03:00 PM
If I could run the flood program reforestation and draining the dams would make up most of it .Removal of anything blocking waterways would make up the rest .
Discussion 8 : 11/09/2012 at 02:50 PM
#33 As Voranai well pointed out, "decades of cumulative incompetence" come into play, not the specific fault of any single administration. Sure doesn't seem the current government has stopped that cycle of running to stand still.
Discussion 9 : 11/09/2012 at 02:43 PM
This month Phuket will host The Quicksilver Surfing Competition. Rapidly moving water creates waves that can be "stationery surfed" just like river surfing. Why not add Sukkothai to the list of events? Thailand has at least 3 surfboard manufacturing companies already.
Discussion 10 : 11/09/2012 at 01:53 PM
I think the BP should seriously consider trying to limit the idiocy of comments blaming Taksin again and the Pheu Thai. DO I believe the Pheu Thai did a good job last year during the floods? Hell no! But this constant finger-pointing blame game is ludicrous to the point of readers surely wanting less propaganda and more analysis?
Discussion 11 : 11/09/2012 at 01:13 PM
Time to move the furniture to the 2nd floor as the more the PTP says there will be no flood the more likely it will be bubbling up around our necks again in Nonthaburi.
Discussion 12 : 11/09/2012 at 12:18 PM
How much did thaksin skim?
Discussion 13 : 11/09/2012 at 11:59 AM
Welcome...To Flood Season 2012!!
Discussion 14 : 11/09/2012 at 11:49 AM
Who are the PTP going to point their fingers to now? After billions have been taken out for "flood prevention", it just makes you wonder what they have done other than pocket that money. Most of the existing flood banks were built last year during the flood, nothing new has been done other than clearing canals building new roads. Its un excusable for Sukhothai to flood especially if "Yom River was still lower than the floodwalls in Sukhothai by almost one metre"
Discussion 15 : 11/09/2012 at 11:47 AM
After last year's floods the PTP government insisted that they needed to borrow 350 billion Baht on an emergency basis, bypassing the normal process. Of this money only a tiny fraction (.25%) has been used so far. So what was the big hurry for this massive borrowing frenzy, if most of the money still sits around accruing huge interest charges? D19, I agree! To justify its status as a meaningful institution in a functioning democracy, the media has an obligation to find the reasons for this deplorable state of affairs and hold those responsible publicly accountable.
Discussion 16 : 11/09/2012 at 11:42 AM
"The government said water management at dams was still under control, and that the Sukhothai flood was due to the levee bases on which flood walls had been built breaking unexpectedly". Where is Puppet and all her Flood Experts??
Discussion 17 : 11/09/2012 at 10:56 AM
As with so much of our infrastructure, everybody wants big money available for new developments (and the 30%+ of tea money), but officials and local/central government fail in spending on maintenance until it all falls apart.
Discussion 18 : 11/09/2012 at 10:03 AM
Who built the flood wall? A full investigation will most likely find that it was off spec and not very cheap either.
Discussion 19 : 11/09/2012 at 09:57 AM
It is already 1 year since the last flooding. Budget for the prevention has already been spend. I believe more than half the budget have already gone into individual pocket. Now when flooding start so is the blaming and finger pointing starts. How much of this nonsense have we Thai have to further endue. We Thai have short memory. This is time for us to stand up as a nation to said no more, enough is enough. The power is in our vote. Do not let our dignity down. We can lower our Pride but do not lower our dignity. Stand up to fight for our right. Long Live The King, Long Live Thailand
Discussion 20 : 11/09/2012 at 09:55 AM
PT, why not nominate Arisman?? He was so good at fire management, maybe he's as good in water management?? And he cannot do a worse job than Nattawut anyway!!
Discussion 21 : 11/09/2012 at 09:40 AM
Once again the government will rush to make compensation payments to those affected by the flood. So that means they will not only have to wait for last years so called "compensation" payment but this one as well. Let's get ready for the 3 "R's", and the "Big Bag" thing again. The thing that kills me is, they have shown older videos of leaders in the past being taught about the Thai canal systems, rivers and khlongs and how so they can have an "effective plan". Oh I forgot, planning and actually having an "effective working system" in Thailand is like "military" and "intelligence". Doesn't happen and won't happen thanks to deep pockets and too many hands in the cooky jar.
Discussion 22 : 11/09/2012 at 09:25 AM
Amazing Goverment are you ready ? Think you should add some more billions to your flood prevention fund or your bank accounts.... Looking forward to next part of the water opera !
Discussion 23 : 11/09/2012 at 09:16 AM
Sukothai and other parts of Thailand....You got what you voted for!!! And more, much more to come....Can't blame the dems anymore eh?????
Discussion 24 : 11/09/2012 at 09:09 AM
Agree with # 7. BP is doing a good job in reporting actual events. Please dig deeper and ask questions like: "who is responsible for the maintenance and performance of the levees". "What about the procurement process (if recently build)"...... Get names and facts please. The media has a lot responsibility as well and can make a difference - if you want !
Discussion 25 : 11/09/2012 at 08:59 AM
Yingluck will flood us with corruption, ineptitude and high prices; plus real deluge of stinking waters along with garbage n disease. Vote for Yongluck. Hep hep yeah from iPhone application.
Discussion 26 : 11/09/2012 at 08:43 AM
corruption causes chaos,nothing get done properly.question need to be answered,where have the flood prevention funds gone
Discussion 27 : 11/09/2012 at 08:36 AM
Sukhothai Voted in the PTP and therefore can not complain to any one Last year you could say that its was the old and new government but this year its is 100% PTP Government The question should be asked where was the money spent !!!!!
Discussion 28 : 11/09/2012 at 08:27 AM
De Ja Vu all over again. I can see lots of photo ops on the horizon.
Discussion 29 : 11/09/2012 at 08:08 AM
Khun Cruden #5, it reminds me of the building of the world's famous "Water Flow-Accerlerating Device," hoping it will speed up the flow of a river, and prevent flooding! Should we put our hope in the real understanding of Hydrodynamics, and its relevant applications, instead of "Thai Ingenuity?"
Discussion 30 : 11/09/2012 at 07:43 AM
"As floodwaters rose, the Provincial Electricity Authority decided to temporarily cut the water supply in several areas". Please explain - don't hey have enough water as it is?
Discussion 31 : 11/09/2012 at 07:39 AM
So this is how the money was spent. Substandard levies. This pattern will be repeated around the country as most of the money went into the pockets of corrupt officials & once again the people are left to look after themselves. The people should be be thankful that HM The King is on hand to assist the affected people.
Discussion 32 : 11/09/2012 at 07:34 AM
Mai phen rai...afterall, T.I.T.
Discussion 33 : 11/09/2012 at 07:28 AM
Good to see all that money was well spent and the lessons learned from the 2011 floods have been put into action. Hope that PM Yingluck keeps a close watch on the situation and gets her Burberry boots out. Time for the people of Thailand to rise up and demand the Thai Government be held accountable.
Discussion 34 : 11/09/2012 at 07:27 AM
the problem is that this happens frequently and has been for a long time, you cannot blame the central government for this, it is the provincial government's responsibility to oversee this, the Thai way is to make temporary repairs, and not upgrade after the crisis. Proper levees require a good base of boulders, with dirt on the top, and in the most problem areas, river-side liners of concrete and large rocks. If the environmentalists would shut up and let them build the dams, this would in a large part go away
Discussion 35 : 11/09/2012 at 07:20 AM
In fairness, somewhere in Thailand gets flooded every year, that's the nature of living in a country that has a huge watershed basin, 6 months of tropical rain and inadequate infrastructure for it's population. Problem is, this govt bungled the previous flood planning and relief, so there were expectations on them this year. A lot of effort and money was spent, bit it was always going to be foiled by corruption and a weak link somewhere along the line. Blame the system. It's always the poor voter who mostly gets hit hardest.
Discussion 36 : 11/09/2012 at 07:12 AM
BP could do a service to find out if the floodwalls that broke (because they were built on levees that gave way) were built after last year's flood or are they older defences which somehow survived last year? If they are newly built perhaps you should ask why the levees were not reinforced or if they were why this was ineffective?
Discussion 37 : 11/09/2012 at 06:57 AM
- "...By the time a flood warning was issued, she saw water gushing into the market." - "Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra,... ordered the provincial governor and authorities to provide urgent assistance to residents..." - "Ms Yingluck will visit inspect the flood situation." All déjà-vu, like Santa Claus who comes every year. But don't worry, Bangkok will not be flooded, and if it does, then the just said was only a little white lie to create confidence among the people.
Discussion 38 : 11/09/2012 at 06:53 AM
D#1: Probably because it takes 7 - 10 years of solid construction to construct a robust levee system - and it is incredibly expensive - so they put up "temporary" levees and hope they hold. Decisions have to be made on a location by location basis on whether it is worthwhile, or whether the towns should be moved away from flood plains (risk/reward).
Discussion 39 : 11/09/2012 at 05:40 AM
It may sound terrible, but I'd like to say to those people affected who apparently have no problem with corruption as long there's something in it for them: "how's this corruption thing working out for you now?"
Discussion 40 : 11/09/2012 at 05:14 AM
When will the Thai people wake up and start demanding the government show accountability for the billions of baht spent on flood preparations? 2012 will once again prove the majority of money disappeared with little to no projects completed. Thailand flooding again? Do you think the corrupt govt officials stealing the flood money even care?
Discussion 41 : 11/09/2012 at 04:31 AM
Was there a white lie involved?
Discussion 42 : 11/09/2012 at 02:26 AM
And why did the levees break?

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