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Worst floods in 2 decades hit Sakon Nakhon (Updated)

16 provinces ravaged by flooding

Rescue workers evacuate people from the flooded Hop Inn in Muang district of Sakon Nakhon. (Photo from @K5_Rescue Twitter account)

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Tropical depression "Sonca" has lashed Sakon Nakhon, leading to the worst floods in the northeastern province for two decades. Flooding persisted across the Northeast.

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Afternoon update

Severe floods continue

Flooding persisted across the Northeast and some central provinces, with one death attributed to flooding in worst-hit Sakon Nakhon, as heavy rain continued on Saturday.

An aerial view of central Sakon Nakhon province on Saturday. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

18 districts of Sakon Nakhon have been inundated, with water levels ranging from 70 to 200 centimetres. People in some residential areas and critically ill patients at Tao Ngoi Hospital in Tao Ngoi district were evacuated.

One person was killed in Kut Bak district and two were reported missing in Muang district in the worst flooding to hit the northeastern province in two decades.

In Khon Kaen, blind students were evacuated from their school where one metre of water covered the property in Muang district. However, water levels were stabilising overall.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, an earth weir burst and flooded about 10,000 rai of residential and farm properties in 151 villages of Prathai district.

Central Kalasin (Photo by Yongyuth Pupuangpet)

In Kalasin, 15 of 17 districts were flooded and about 500 houses in the provincial centre were inundated.

In Nakhon Phanom, tributaries of the rising Mekong River overflowed onto about 2,000 rai of farmland and riverside communities.

Bamnet Narong district, Chaiyaphum (photo by Makhawan Wannakul)

In Chaiyaphum, runoffs ranging from 1-2 metres deep affected thousands of residents and tens of thousands of rai of farmland in Bamnet Narong and Kaeng Khro districts.

In the Central Plains, runoff hit parts of Dan Sai district of Phetchabun. In Sukhothai, soldiers repaired punctured floodwalls and worked to alleviate flooding in Muang district.

In Ayutthaya, irrigation officials increased the discharge rate from the Rama VI dam to prepare for a rapid increase in inflows from Lop Buri, Chaiyaphum and Saraburi upstream.

Officials at the Chao Phraya dam in Chai Nat were doing the same to cope with faster inflows from upstream locations.

Morning story

Sonca storm wrath sinks Sakon Nakhon

POST REPORTERS

Weather radar Saturday morning still shows a large area of rain stretching from Nong Khai to Udon Thani to northern parts of Sakol Nakhon, so flooding problems are likely to continue for some time. Thai Meteorological Department.

Tropical depression "Sonca" has lashed Sakon Nakhon, leading to the worst floods in the northeastern province for two decades.

The wrath of the storm forced the shutdown of the provincial airport, the evacuation of a hotel and a major breach at a reservoir.

Major floods resulted after torrential downpours pounded 16 provinces mainly in the Northeast, the lower North and the Central region yesterday.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday instructed authorities to work at full capacity to assist flood victims. He said warning signs must be installed in flood-ravaged areas to prevent accidents, particularly on mountains.

Sakon Nakhon governor Witthaya Chanchalong called the flooding in the province the worst in 20 years, and said the crisis was exacerbated by runoff from Phu Phan mountain.

The worst-hit area was Muang district as it is located in a low-lying area, and several villages were cut off from the outside world, he said.

The water level in the district yesterday stood at one metre and was still rising at press time last night.

Residents from at least 70 households in the district were evacuated from the flood-ravaged area. Officials expected to move more residents out if the rain continues. Three relief centres to help flood-affected victims were also set up near the city hall.

Technicians and experts inspect the flooded Sakon Nakhon airport on Friday for damage to the electric power system and other infrastructure. (Photo by the Department of Airports)

Sakon Nakhon airport was forced to close after its runway was submerged yesterday afternoon, with all flights cancelled.

Airports Department director-general Darun Saengchai said the water level on the runway was about 40cm high and deemed too dangerous for aircraft. The department will assess the situation day by day before reopening the airport, he added.

Airport officials also helped evacuate 15 passengers who were stranded there.

About 70 people were also evacuated from the Hop Inn budget hotel in Muang district.

Rescue workers were helping stranded people by supplying them with food before bringing them to higher ground. About 100 people were taken to makeshift shelters set up near the provincial hall, according to the provincial office of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

Sakon Nakhon municipality, main roads were under nearly one metre of floodwater triggered by flash floods from Phu Phan mountain.

Huai Sai Khamin reservoir in Muang district was breached, across about 20 metres, as it was unable to hold the large amounts of water, and more than one million cubic metres of water overflowed into nearby areas, said Niphon Mungkornkaew, chief of Sakon Nakhon Irrigation Office 5.

The municipality needs to install water pumps urgently to remove water from roads.

The flooding was also caused by overflow from Nong Han, the largest freshwater lake in the Northeast, which was unable to hold the huge volume of water caused by the persistent rain.

On Thursday, Nong Han held 275 million cubic metres of water, exceeding its critical level of 267 million cu/m, forcing officials to release water into the Kan River.

The discharged water also caused land slips along the riverbank while a number of rice paddy fields in Muang and Khok Si Suphan districts were inundated by floodwater.

According to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), 16 provinces nationwide have been ravaged by flooding.

They are Ubon Ratchathani, Maha Sarakham, Si Sa Ket, Phichit, Nakhon Ratchasima, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Lop Buri, Mae Hong Son, Ayutthaya, Uttaradit, Buri Ram, Phitsanulok, Ranong, Sakon Nakhon and Sukhothai.

One of the breaches of the flood wall in Sukhothai. Facebook book page of the Sukhothai provincial governor.

The department warned people in the North, the Northeast, the East and the Central Plains to brace for further heavy rainfall until tomorrow, which could trigger more flash floods and landslides.

In Sukhothai, overflow from the Yom River broke through a wall of large sandbags to hit business areas in Muang Sukhothai municipality which was under 20-30cm of floodwater while at Sukhothai fresh market the water level stood at 50cm yesterday.

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