ONWR notifies Mekong neighbours of potential flash flooding

Picture courtesy of ข่าวออนไลน์หนองคาย Facebook

As Thailand braces for severe weather and potential flash floods, the Office of National Water Resources (ONWR) has issued an urgent communication to the Mekong River Commission Secretariat (MRCS) and neighbouring nations in the Lower Mekong River Basin, including China. The ONWR urges careful management of water level discharges in the region to prevent damaging floods.

Yesterday, Surasri Kidtimonton, the ONWR’s Secretary-General and Deputy Director of the National Water Command Centre (NWCC), reported that constant heavy rains in the lower basin have already spawned flash floods in the Bolikhamxay province of Laos.

The severe weather stems from a low-pressure trough spanning southern China and northern Vietnam, dumping copious rainfall across the north and northeast of Thailand. Thus, a surge in water levels in the Mekong River is anticipated from Thursday through to next Tuesday.

In response to this impending threat, the NWCC initially prompted residents in eight provinces skirting the Mekong River to prepare for likely flash floods, reported Bangkok Post.

Following this cautionary measure, the ONWR disseminated a notice to the MRCS, informing member nations such as Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam of the latest water situational report. They urged swift action to prevent emergency circumstances arising from excessive flooding, as Surasri warned.

He further added that the ONWR has likewise approached Laos and China, reiterating the call to control discharge rates from dams along the Mekong River cautiously to thwart potential flood situations.

Surasri assured that current water levels, as reported by water stations across the Mekong River in areas including Chiang Rai, Loei, Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Amnat Charoen, and Ubon Ratchathani, remain manageable till now.

In the face of the looming emergency, representatives from the ONWR Region 3 have been assigned to monitor the water situation closely. They are working in conjunction with local agencies to lend necessary assistance to people living near the major waterway.

The current weather forecast warns of heavy rainfall expected to trigger landslides and flash floods across 16 provinces from today through to Friday.

On Thursday, he noted the provinces of Trat, Mukdahan, Trang, Kanchanaburi, Nan and Lop Buri have already been impacted by heavy rains.

Surasri also flagged the potential for flash floods and mudslides in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Tak, Nan, Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Nakhon Phanom, Sakon Nakhon, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat, Ranong, Phangnga, Phuket, Satun and Trang from today until Friday.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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