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Worries arise over full dams, even before start of rainy season

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Worries arise over full dams, even before start of rainy season | The Thaiger

Despite the Royal Ploughing Day, all the water-throwing at Songkran and the annual rocket festival – all trying to encourage water from the skies for the forthcoming wet season – we still have to hope mother nature plays along and delivers the rain needed for the nation’s agricultural areas.

But, rolling into wet season this year, most of the main dams are full, or nearly full. Adding to potential problems, the Thai Meteorological Department are predicting a ‘wetter than average’ wet season ahead.

Authorities claim they’ve already learnt from past mistakes and prepared in advance to cope with the worrying water situation ahead.

The rainy season officially begins in Thailand this week with grim prospects, as the Royal Irrigation Department data reveals 50 reservoirs across the country are full or up to 80 percent of capacity. Meanwhile, the weather forecast from National Hydro Informatics and the Climate Data Centre expected rainfall during this monsoon to be 10 per cent higher than average and at least one to two storms are expected to hit Thailand by the end of the season.

Worries arise over full dams, even before start of rainy season | News by The Thaiger

The data also revealed another fact: five medium-sized reservoirs had already exceeded their maximum capacity and these dams were ready to overflow at anytime.

Somkiat Prajumwong, director-general of the newly established National Water Resources Office, assured that the authorities were prepared for the rainy season, as he had ordered related agencies to carefully inspect reservoirs across the country and draft plans for an emergency water crisis.

“As we have found, there are 50 reservoirs that have already reached 80 per cent of storage capacity even before the start of the rainy season. The office has ordered all related agencies such as the RID, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, and the Interior Ministry to drain out the water as much as possible and strengthen the dams to ensure the safety of the reservoirs,” Somkiat said.

Worries arise over full dams, even before start of rainy season | News by The Thaiger

“We have to act fast and try to reduce the water in all reservoirs to lower than 60 per cent before the full stage of the rainy season.”

He pointed out that if the reservoirs cannot achieve this goal in time, the National Water Resources Office had already ordered the owner of the reservoirs to set up an emergency protocol to let officers at the project know what to do in the event of a crisis, how to prepare people downstream when the alarm rings and where they should be evacuated to if the dam levels are breached.

At least four reservoirs were breached last year, which claimed the lives of many people and caused extensive flooding downstream because the pressure on the reservoir’s capacity from heavy rains caused the dam’s structure to collapse.

“I am sure that under the unified water management plan of the National Water Resources Office, our efficiency to deal with irrigation management and flood prevention will be significantly improved,” he said.

As the agricultural planner for Chao Phraya River Basin, Somkiat said the RID had already irrigated water for the farmers in water retention areas in Phitsanulok’s Bang Rakam district and other water retention fields downstream in Ayutthaya, Singburi and Angthong. That would allow farmers start farming as soon as late as last month and let them harvest their crops before the flood season starts.

“We also listened to people’s complaints about the problems from water management in water retention fields from last year,” Somkiat said.

“The office has ordered the RID and the Highway Department to make sure that floodwater in water retention fields will not be too high and cause travel difficulties for the people like in previous years.”

In Phuket, the main dam in Kathu, Bang Wad, is 80 percent full with locals saying the level rose another metre over the past month with early wet season rain.

Worries arise over full dams, even before start of rainy season | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: The Thaiger, The Nation

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2 Phuket Town nightclubs shut down after allegedly violating multiple laws

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2 Phuket Town nightclubs shut down after allegedly violating multiple laws | The Thaiger

2 Phuket Town nightclubs are shutting down after allegedly violating multiple laws. The Maldives and H20 on Lim Sui Ju Road, on the south end of Phuket Town were ordered by the Phuket Governor to close immediately, with the Maldives being orderd to close for 5 years.

The order comes after the Phuket City Police inspected the Maldives club, arresting the manager for operating an entertainment venue without a permit, allowing people under 20 years old to work or “use services in the venue,” and for selling alcohol without a permit.

Governor Narong cited his authority under Section 4 of NCPO order 22/2558 to order the Maldives nightclub to be closed for 5 years, from March 5, 2021 to March 4, 2026.

The order also prohibits the operators from opening any other entertainment venues during the same period. The H20 nightclub was ordered to close by a provincial order after Phuket City Police say they inspected the venue and charged the operator for selling or providing shisha, or baraku, without permission.

The owner was also accused of operating an entertainment venue without a permit and violating the provincial order for enforcing Covid-19 safety measures. But it is unknown what penalties were handed down to the operator of the H20 nightclub, unlike the Maldives operator, who received a penalty.

Instead, the governor cited the Revolution Council announcement of 1959, to shut down the establishment for 30 days from March 5, 2021 to April 3, 2021. The orders noted that both operators of the clubs have the right to appeal the closures, having 15 days to file an appeal directly with the Phuket Governor.

Meanwhile, Phuket is set to open its doors to vaccinated, international tourists by October, pending the government’s approval. The local government’s initiative, named Phuket First October, proposes vaccinating a majority of its population over 18 years of age in time for the high season.

The move would allow thousands of vaccinated Europeans to enter Thailand, while locals would be protected from the virus symptoms.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Thailand bans assemblies, protests, mass gatherings citing Covid-19 fears

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Thailand bans assemblies, protests, mass gatherings citing Covid-19 fears | The Thaiger

Thailand’s government has banned assemblies, protests, and mass gatherings citing fears over Covid-19 spreading. The Royal Gazette, Thailand’s official site for publishing new laws and regulations, made the announcement late last night on the heels of another protest scheduled for today.

The ban is in place for Bangkok and 5 other provinces including Samut Prakan, Samut Songkhram, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, and Nonthaburi provinces.

Thai Government officials insist the ban on protests is not political but some are skeptical as a protest last weekend ended in violence after demonstrators tried to march to the home of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. The “leaderless protest” set for today, by “Redem” pro-democracy group, is set to march to the Thai Criminal Court. And, protest groups on social media have stated that the new regulations will not stop scheduled future protests.

Despite the Emergency Decree that has been put in place to ban mass gatherings, the new law will cover more ground by giving the government more power to assert control over law-breakers by including fines up to 40,000 baht or up to 2 years in jail. The new law is effective until further notice.

Yesterday, the pro-democracy group Ratsadon, arrived to the outskirts of Bangkok, after a nearly 250 kilometre, 17 day long walk from the Thao Suranaree statue in Korat province’s Muang district. The group was protesting the imprisonment of 9 pro-democracy demonstrators who are being denied bail. The march, named “Walk Through the Sky: Bring Back the People’s Power,” started on February 16.

The march is expected to end today at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, but it is unclear whether or not the protest will be stopped in accordance to the new ban.

Thailand has seen a drop in the amount of daily reported cases of Covid-19, with numbers decreasing to double-digits. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration assistant spokeswoman is now claiming that Thailand has successfully contained the second wave of Covid, which broke out last December.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thai navy receives PETA award after rescuing cats from sinking ship

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Thai navy receives PETA award after rescuing cats from sinking ship | The Thaiger

The Thai navy is celebrating receiving a PETA award after rescuing a group of cats from a sinking ship that had caught fire in the Andaman sea. The Hero to Animals Award was given to the naval officials by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals group after Facebook user “Nookool.b” posted photos of the feline rescue mission.

The ship’s 8 member crew had jumped off the sinking Phamonsin Nava 10 and were rescued by a passing fishing ship, but noticed 4 cats were left onboard. Navy sailors rescued the cats by carrying them piggy‐back style across the water to the navy vessel unit. The felines were safely rescued and were in good condition, just a bit dehydrated.

“They carried each cat on their backs and swam back to the Navy vessel until every cat was rescued.”

PETA Senior Vice President Jason Baker said their efforts had resonated with kind people around the world.

“Peta hopes their example will inspire everyone to keep an eye out for animals in danger and do whatever it takes to ensure their safety.”

PETA says they are sending the navy a framed certificate and letter of appreciation. The animal rights group has also offered to pay for the spaying or neutering of the cats.

In 1 rescue photo, a cat was shown to be riding piggy-back on a sailor as his crew mates pulled them both to safety. Other photos show the cats after they were rescued, enjoying food and cuddling in the naval command post in Koh Lipe.

Their rescuers, members from the Air and Coastal Defence Command Operation Unit 491, found the cats the day after they were deployed to assist the crew of the ship that had caught fire. The ship was located about 13 kilometres off Adang Island in the southern province of Satun

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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