Dam-burst drama: Rising water levels have northern Thailand residents on the brink

Picture courtesy of KhaoSod.

The residents of Non Sawan, located in the area above the Ubonrat Dam in Khon Kaen Province, are preparing for rising water levels, as a deluge has filled the dam to capacity. The resulting flood is rapidly encroaching upon rice fields and homes, with predictions of imminent submersion.

The current state of Non Sawan village, located in Ubonrat district, Khon Kaen Province, is concerning. The village, situated above the Ubonrat Dam reservoir, is experiencing a continuous rise in water levels, inundating rice fields and homes at the village’s rear. The water level continues to rise as tributaries continue to flow into the Ubonrat Dam reservoir.

In response, the villagers of Non Sawan are banding together to harvest the rice planted at the back of the village to prevent the newly formed grains from perishing in the flood.

The water level has been rising continuously for several days, inundating the low-lying rice fields. For those living on higher ground, there is an urgent need to harvest rice despite it not being suitable for consumption yet, reported KhaoSod.

A 68 year old resident, Auan Suansamue, remarked that he did not expect such a high volume of water this year. The water level has been rising continuously for several days, submerging over 20 acres of rice fields.

Only a small area at the back of his village remains untouched, with just one month left until the rice would have been ready for harvest.

The continuous rise in water levels has forced him to harvest the newly formed grains, which will be used as food for his cattle and as seeds for the next rice planting season. He’s already moved his belongings to higher ground and expects the water level to be similar to that experienced in 2023 and 2024.

Similarly, Wanphen Suksaket has been sun-drying rice that was submerged in water, before using a wooden mallet to remove the rice grains. She plans to store this for future consumption.

Wanphen reported that the flood has covered all her rice fields, forcing her to move her valuables to a higher location as the water level continues to rise daily.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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