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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Floods hit, more rain coming; High hopes for baby panda; Govt urged to consider BRN proposal

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PM visits Prachin Buri as flood crisis intensifies
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The flood crisis in Prachin Buri was the focus of attention yesterday amid forecasts of more rain on the way and fears that local industrial estates could be submerged.

The eastern province has been the hardest hit, as it holds water running south from Nakhon Ratchasima, which is receiving run-off from Khao Yai National Park. Areas facing the biggest flood threat include the large Industrial Estate 304, where 20 factories are already flooded. And Prachantakham district is already inundated with a flood one to two metres deep.

The flood threat at Prachin Buri’s industrial areas prompted a visit yesterday by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Banharn Silpa-archa, de-facto and chief adviser of the Chart Thai Pattana Party, which has MP seats in this province. They inspected many areas, met with flood victims and handed relief supplies to them. Many of these came in bags with a sticker picture of Thaksin, the fugitive former premier, on them.

A large number of villagers in two tambons in Prachantakham closed a road in protest at the authorities’ alleged lack of care. Prachin Buri has faced flooding since September 19, with both urban and rural areas under a high level of water, some of which is now stagnant.

The flood situation remains grim, with incoming Typhoon Wutip threatening to bring heavy rain to the Northeast and lower North, which have already been hit hard and have many areas under water.

A weather forecast issued yesterday said Wutip was expected to reach Hue in Vietnam by today or tomorrow, and later slow down when reaching the Thai Northeast. Meanwhile, a monsoon nearing the southwest is also expected to bring heavy rain to coastal provinces near the Andaman Sea, and high seas are likely in the Gulf of Thailand.

Yingluck, as defence minister, had instructed military units to help flood victims in their vicinity. She also told the Public Health Ministry to give counselling to flood victims for their mental well-being, as well as treatment and medicine.

Banharn told reporters he had volunteered to Yingluck to take care of the situation in Prachin Buri on a regular basis if she is busy. He said the province had been hit by a record volume of water – the highest over a 30-year period, plus an influx from neighbouring Sa Kaew.

In a flood damage update yesterday, there have been 19 people killed in flood-related accidents or drowning, while some 27 provinces have areas under water. Floods have affected 783,000 households in 224 districts, with more than 2.7 million people.

The situation was better in five provinces: Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Kanchanaburi, Kalasin and Nakhon Ratchasima.

In hard-hit Ubon Ratchathani and Si Sa Ket provinces, some 15,254 people were evacuated from 4,416 flooded homes, according to the update by the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

Both Yingluck and Banharn also visited Kabin Buri, where the floodwater level remains high. In a report by provincial governor Jittra Phromchutima, they were told that two people drowned, 11,765 households were affected, 94,601 rai of farmland, 605 fish ponds, and 311 roads were flooded or damaged. Some 77,979 heads of cattle had also died.

Meanwhile, Democrat Party deputy spokesperson Mallika Bunmeetrakool said she doubted that Bt120 billion said to have been spent on flood prevention projects was fully allocated for such measures. She alleged that a woman with close ties to the government had demanded 40 per cent cut – or “tea money” from contractors. Mallika said she would lodge a complaint with the National Anti-Corruption Commission asking for an investigation into spending on flood projects.

The Public Health Ministry said yesterday more than 26,000 patients had received treatment for waterborne diseases – Athlete’s Foot, body pain and headache. The report also said 35 small hospitals and government clinics had been flooded but public services at those places were continuing.

Mobile medical units from government hospitals had provided services 504 times, plus 18,500 home visits, with 80,000 medical kits given out to flood victims. Another 120,000 kits were ready for distribution and an order had been placed to obtain 300,000 more kits, the report said.

Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong said health volunteers would make visits at locations where residents, such as the elderly and sick, were prone to post-flood diseases, including Leptospirosis, “pink eye”, dengue, and watery bowel.

Storm Wutip may bring more misery
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Weather Bureau warned yesterday of heavy rains in the Northeast tomorrow when tropical storm Wutip is expected to hit upper Vietnam, as parts of Thailand, notably Isaan, continue to reel under floods.

The department also warned that people living in flood-risk areas in Central and Eastern Thailand, especially Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Sa Kaew, Chanthaburi, Trat and Chachoengsao should brace for heavy rains and possible landslides during this period.

According to the forecast, most of Bangkok, estimated at 80 per cent of the capital, will see rainfall.

In the meantime, the Royal Irrigation Department’s Water Analysis Centre reported yesterday that the country’s major reservoirs now contain 47,262 million cubic metres of water, about 67 per cent of their capacity. So, they could still hold another 22,800 million cubic metres of water.

The centre also said reservoirs in the Central and Northeast continued to rise due to rain. It affirmed that the department would focus on managing water in reservoirs, taking into account the volume of rain while also aiming to store enough water over the next two months for the upcoming dry season.

Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi told a national audience on the “Prime Minister Yingluck Government Meets the People” TV show yesterday there was only a slim chance of runoff from the North causing a repeat of the 2011 flood crisis in Bangkok. He said the capital would have no overall problem, except the city’s eastern side that may face minor flooding, provided there was no rain storm in the north of Bangkok in the next few days.

He also believed the flood situation in Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchathani would improve in the next couple of days.

Yesterday morning, Prime Minister Yingluck visited a flood-hit area at Wat Bot in tambon Bang Krabeu in Pathum Thani’s Sam Khok district.

Plodprasop, who chairs the Water and Flood Management Commission (WFMC), also urged the PM to instruct officials to tackle the upcoming storm Wutip. He warned that if the storm headed to Ubon Ratchathani, the situation there could worsen, as the province had taken in floodwater from Si Sa Ket and let it through to Prachin Buri.

Thailand has had 1,245 millimetres of rainfall so far this year, 32 per cent lower than in 2011, Plodprasop said. He added that Ayutthaya’s Bang Ban district saw the Chao Phraya River rise by 1.5 metres beyond its banks while Angthong’s Pa Mok district saw a metre rise beyond its banks. Low-lying areas outside the flood-barrier zone on the left and right banks of the Chao Phraya would see floodwater 60cm to 1.5 metres deep, which was a normal situation.

During her

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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