Tropical storm Bebinca has now moved westwards into Myanmar as it continues to weaken but it’s left a trail of floods behind as home and farmland across the the north and north-east as rivers and canals swelled with the heavy rains. Around Petchaburi the situation is still perilous for residents in the wake of the Kaeng Krachan Dam.
In Chiang Rai, a large section of a half-completed flood barrier along Lam Nam Kham canal in Tambon Mae Kham, Mae Chan district, collapsed, inundating 230 homes in four villages with floodwater up to a metre deep. Residents of Ban Moung Khammai Moo 11 and Moo 13, Ban Rong Kor Moo 4 and Ban Santhat Moo 9 were sent scrambling as the tide submerged roads as well.
The runoff then also submerged 100 homes in Tambon Jajawatai further downstream.
Chiang Rai Governor Prajon Prajsakul dispatched officials to help people evacuate their homes and to distribute drinking water and food. Prajon said 76 villages in 23 sub-districts of six districts had seen flooding in recent days, but he expected most to return to normal soon if the rain stopped.
In Muang Nan, home to Tangjit Nusorn Market, flooding was not as severe. Nan Governor Paisal Wimonrat and disaster-prevention chief Narong Inso inspected the Ban Don Kaew sluice gate to supervise repairs to broken panels. With pumps installed around affected areas, officials were optimistic that the situation would improve – again, if the heavy rain lets up.
In Chiang Khan and Pak Chom districts in Loei, the Mekong River had risen to within one metre of breaching its banks as of 7am yesterday. Residents living along the river and connected canals were bracing for floods and prepared to evacuate if necessary, Chiang Khan district chief Chatchapong Art-kaew said. Downstream in Nong Khai, the Mekong reached its highest level of the year yesterday – 11.91 metres – with overflow spilling into to low-lying homes and farmland in Tha Bo district on the southern bank.
Sluice gates were closed and pumps installed in Muang Nong Khai and 3,000 sandbags were prepared.
In Phetchaburi, the Kaeng Krachan Dam was holding nearly 767 million cubic metres of water as of 6am yesterday, representing 108 per cent of its capacity. The sluice gates remained close to minimise impacts on nearby communities, but water was being released via spillways and 20 siphon pipes were installed to help drain it.
As the water was flowing at the rate of 247 cubic metres per second, from the Kaeng Krajan Dam to the downstream Phetch Dam, lowlying downstream areas located between these two dams were flooded. The Tha Yang, Ban Lat, Muang and Ban Laem districts which were downstream from the Phetch Damj were not yet flooded as of press time but Phetch River running through them were rising and inundating some riverside lowlaying areas.
Dozens of specially designed boats to push water were anchored in the river at Ban Laem with their engines trying to hasten the current towards the Gulf.In Kanchanaburi’s Sai Yok district, people living along the Kwai Noi River in Tha Nam Pak Saeng felt the double impact of flooding from the rain-swollen river and fromVajiralongkorn Dam, which was releasing water at a rate of 43 million cubic metres per day.
With that amount to be boosted to 53 million cubic metres from August 23-27, residents were told to move belongings to higher grounds.Residents along both sides of the Moei River in Tak’s Mae Sot district, meanwhile, were warned of possible flash floods. The river had risen close to the ”red alert” level near the First Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge in Tambon Tha Sai Luad, disaster-prevention chief Kittisak Boonchan said.
SOURCE: The Nation
Less monitoring, more enforcement – Prawit warns northern officials
PHOTO: The Thaiger
Thai Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa were in Chiang Mai yesterday to give provincial governors and state agency officials a ‘heads up’ in preparation for another looming season of forest fires and haze.
The North suffers perennial choking smog from approximately February to April, and Prawit passed on a message from PM Prayut Chan-o-cha who, he said, was fretting over the impact on people’s health.
He said the Environment Ministry would take the lead in coordinating with neighbouring countries and related local authorities to monitor the fire problem both in and outside Thailand.
The fires are lit in northern Thailand, and over the border in Myanmar, as burn-offs to prepare for the next year’s crops. Last year’s choking smoke haze was headline news for months.
SOURCE: The Nation
Chiang Mai hotels face a quiet end to 2019
PHOTO: Spice Roads
Chiang Mai hotels are bracing for a quiet end to 2019, along with other Thai tourist hotspots, due to the strength of the baht, an over-supply of rooms and the growing popularity of home-sharing accommodations like Airbnb.
Hoteliers in the northern city are also suffering the fall-out from the smoke haze crisis earlier in the year which put off a lot of forward tourist bookings.
Occupancy rates have fallen in Q3 20%, compared to an 80% rate at the same time last year. Hoteliers say that, usually, this is a relatively busy time for the northern city with school holidays in Europe and China. This year’s Chinese ‘Golden Week’ (October 1-7) was also very quiet compared to previous years.
They predict the average occupancy rate of less than 60% may be the ‘norm’ for the rest of the year. At the same time the number of rooms in Chiang Mai has risen an additional 10,000 rooms to 60,000 rooms in just two years, so there is a glut of rooms competing for dwindling business.
The rise of home-sharing accommodation in northern Thailand is further exacerbating the problem for the traditional hotel market. Hoteliers are also blaming this year’s negative publicity about the smoke and haze during March and April.
According to the Bangkok Post, in the first eight months of this year Chiang Mai welcomed 6.38 million tourists, down 2.2% compared to the same period last year.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
Burmese man arrested for dealing in methamphetamine pills
PHOTO: Naew Na
Naew Na reports that a joint operation between Lamphun immigration and the Muangjee police has resulted in the arrest of a 27 year old Burmese man. Lamphun is just south of Chiang Mai and has a large population of Burmese migrant workers.
‘Thun’ was arrested yesterday along with drug taking equipment and 206 methamphetamine tablets. He was charged with possession of an illicit drug with intent to sell, and using the drug.
He has now been handed over to the Muang Lamphun police for processing and probably deportation.
SOURCE: Naew Na
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