Plans to solve landslide and flood problems

PHUKET: The Chief of the Phuket Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (ODPM), Metha Mekarat, has outlined both short- and long-term plans that he hopes will reduce instances of flooding and landslides in Phuket.

K. Metha told the Gazette that the recent flooding and landslides were caused both by nature and by human interference.

“Some housing projects have caused watercourses to become blocked and hillsides to be stripped of vegetation, the roots of which would otherwise hold surface soil in place,” said K. Metha.

Describing these problems as “not major”, he said that the ODPM had used data from the Department of Mineral Resources, which carried out surveys over the past 12 months to identify risk areas.

The surveys found six locations along the road between Kalim and Patong that are particularly at risk of both flooding and landslides.

A further eight areas along Phra Barami Rd and Ao Por Lungka Daeng Rd in Patong are also at risk from landslides “before too long,” K. Metha said.

Strategies to minimize the effect of deforestation will include covering high-risk hillsides with protective mesh to hold the soil in place, with a wall at the base of the hill as a last-ditch defense in case the mesh should fail.

Long-term plans include reducing the incline of entire hillsides – both those with roads and as-yet undeveloped ones – in the risk areas.

K. Metha said that the Phuket Provincial Highways Office and the Phuket Provincial Rural Roads Office must first survey the areas in question before submitting a budget request for Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura to forward to the central government.

K. Metha said that Gov Udomsak has already taken the initiative by setting up a committee to identify and inspect all of the building developments that may have caused deforestation or blockages to watercourses.

The committee will, according to K. Metha, make “recommendations” to project developers that they solve the problems they have caused. It will, however, have no power to enforce its recommendations.

Phuket News

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