This is the first is a series of Bangkok Post stories on the aftermath of the floods.
A military helicopter drops relief supplies to a flooded village in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Thong Chai district on October 20. SAROT MEKSOPHAWANNAKUL
Officials go against the flow
Flood prevention takes top priority in ravaged district.
Once a bustling, happy village district, Pak Thong Chai is now semi-deserted and subdued after the flash flood tore through the town three weeks ago.
The streets are quiet as few people are venturing from their homes. There is still a lot of cleaning up to do and damage to be repaired.
Water marks are visible everywhere, a heart-rending reminder of the village's worst tragedy in memory. They are seen on roadside shophouses, trees and the district office, where officials daily spread out water-soaked documents and other office items for drying.
All 32 districts of this thriving northeastern province were hit by the floods and Pak Thong Chai, situated about 35km from Nakhon Ratchasima city, was among those that suffered the most.
About 80,000 of the district's 120,000 people fell victim to the deluge. One resident was killed and 153 others were injured. The torrential downfalls damaged 379 roads and 104,000 rai of farmland.
Pak Thong Chai district office estimates the overall damage cost is at least 734 million baht. As the anguished residents try to recover from their losses, local authorities have begun to think about long-term flood prevention measures. At the top of the list is the proposed one billion baht project to increase the water storage capacity of Lam Phra Ploeng Dam.
Located about 30km from Pak Thong Chai, the dam has been blamed for releasing a huge volume of water, causing severe flooding in the district.
An additional surge of flood water came from forest run-off from Khao Yai National Park.
"We plan to heighten the dam's spillway by another three metres which will enable the dam to hold 150 million cubic metres of water, or 40 million cubic metres of water more than the present 110 million capacity," said Mongkhon Payoonhong, a former Pak Thong Chai mayor.
Improving the dam will also benefit farmers as the extra reserves of water could help expand agricultural areas, he said.A further one billion baht has been earmarked for the clean-up and dredging of canals to help with water drainage.
Some dams built by the villagers to check water flows would be improved as many of them obstruct water flow, Mr Mongkhon said.
There are seven check dams on the Lam Phra Ploeng canal. They were built by the villagers to store water for use in the dry season.
He said the check dams should have special gates to allow water to flow.
Before the check dams were built, the water flowed at 40 cubic metres a second, but that rate has now been reduced to six cu/m a second, he said.
Mr Mongkhon said that would have contributed to the flooding in the district.
The projects would be proposed to the Royal Irrigation Department and then submitted to the cabinet for approval, said Mr Mongkhon, who has become a key figure in the flood relief scheme as the mayor was suffering from health problems and the Pak Thong Chai district chief had just retired.
Another flood prevention project is the planned construction of a water pipeline to divert water from Lam Sor canal which flows directly to Pak Thong Chai.
Mr Mongkhon criticised local authorities over the lack of disaster warning and flood preparedness schemes.
"It takes three days before water from Lam Phra Pleong Dam arrives in the heart of the district," he said. "If related agencies closely monitored and coordinated with irrigation officials, they would be able to give timely warnings to the people and Pak Thong Chai would have suffered much less damage."
Pak Thong Chai's deputy district chief, Peeraphong Sanhongchart, admitted the district's warning system needed to be fixed. The system should be more effective and reliable to gain local people's trust.
"We have to find a way to make the villagers believe in our warnings. People used their own experience to judge the severity of the flooding," Mr Peeraphong said.
aftermath – the effects and results of something bad or important ผลที่ตามมา
relief – money, food, medicine etc. that is given to help people in places where there has been a natural disaster, war, etc. เครื่องบรรเทาสาธารณภัย
flow – a movement of water การไหล
prevention – preventing something bad from happening การป้องกันภ้ย
priority – something important that must be done first สี่งที่สำคัญเป็นลำดับแรก
ravage – to destroy something or damage it very badly ทำให้เสียหาย, ทำลาย, ล้างผลาญ
devastated – badly damaged or destroyed ถูกทำลายล้าง
bustling - full of busy activity อึกทึกครึกโครม
deserted – empty ที่ถูกทิ้งให้ว่างเปล่า ร้างไป
subdued – quiet and slightly sad or worried ข่มอารมณ์, เงียบ
flash flood – a flood that happens suddenly without warning น้ำที่เกิดท่วมในที่ต่ำโดยฉับพลันทันทีและไหลลดลงอย่างรวดเร็ว
venture – to go somewhere, especially somewhere that is unpleasant, dangerous or exciting เสี่ยงภัย ผจญภัย
visible – able to be seen ที่มองเห็นได้
heart-rending – making you feel very sad and sympathetic because someone is suffering ซึ่งทำให้เสียใจมาก (ในความทุกข์ของคนอื่น)
reminder – something that helps you remember something that happened in the past – สิ่งช่วยเตือนความจำ
tragedy – a very sad situation, usually because it involves death or great suffering โศกนาฎกรรม
soaked – very wet เปียกโชก
document – a paper or set of papers with written or printed information, especially of an official type เอกสาร
thriving – very successful ประสบความสำเร็จอย่างสูง
situated – located ตั้งอยู่ที่
suffer – to be badly affected by a very difficult or unpleasant situation ประสบความลำบาก
fall victim to – to be harmed by something เป็นเหยื่อ
deluge – a sudden, very heavy rainfall or a sudden flow of a large amount of water ฝนตกหนัก น้ำปริมาณมาก
resident – a person who live in a particular area ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
injured – hurt in an accident or attack ซึ่งได้รับบาดเจ็บ
torrential – (of rain or moving water) extremely heavy ซึ่งไหลเชี่ยว
downfall –a lot of rain in a short time ฝนตกหนักมาก, พายุฝน
estimate – to say what you think an amount or value will be, either by guessing or by using available information to calculate it โดยประมาณ
anguish - painful emotions ความทรมาณทางจิตใจ
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
measure – an action taken to solve a particular problem มาตรการ
storage capacity – the amount of something that can be kept in a place, building, container, etc. ความจุ
dam – a wall built across a river to stop the water from flowing, especially in order to create a lake or to help to produce electric power เขื่อน
release – to allow a substance to flow out from somewhere ปล่อย
volume – an amount of something ปริมาณ
severe – very serious and worrying ที่รุนแรง ที่น่าเป็นห่วง
surge – a sudden increase in something, in this case, the flow of water การเพิ่มขึ้นอย่างรวดเร็ว
run-off – water flowing away from a flooded areaspillway
spillway – a structure used to provide for the controlled release of flows from a dam or dyke into a downstream area ทางน้ำล้น
mayor – the most important elected official in a town or city นายกเทศมนตรี
improve – to make better ทำให้ดีขึ้น
benefit – to give an advantage to someone มีประโยชน์ต่อ
reserve – kept for use for something or someone ที่จัดสรรไว้ สำรอง
expansion – to increase in size, number or importance ขยายออก
earmark – to keep or intend something for a particular purpose
dredge – to remove unwanted things from the bottom of a river, lake, etc. using a sucking or other device ขุดลอก
drainage – the system of water or waste liquids flowing away from somewhere into the ground or down pipes การระบายน้ำ
obstruct – to make it difficult for something to happen or for someone or something to go somewhere ขวางทาง
rate – the level or speed at which something happens or changes, or the amount or number of times it happens or changes in a particular period อัตรา
contribute to – to help cause an event or situation ช่วยก่อให้เกิด
irrigation – the process of bringing water to land through a system of pipes, ditches, etc. in order to make crops grow ระบบชลประทาน
submit – to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
cabinet – the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
approval – official permission การอนุมัต
figure – someone who is important in some way บุคคลสำคัญ
scheme – a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people แผนการ โครงการ
retired – no longer working because you have reached the age where you are officially too old to work เกษียณอายุ
divert – to cause something to change direction เบนเส้นทางเดินน้ำ, เปลี่ยนเส้นทางเดินน้ำ
disaster –an unexpected event, such as a very bad accident, a flood or a fire, that kills a lot of people or causes a lot of damage ความหายนะ ความล่มจม ความโชคร้าย
monitor – to regularly check something or watch someone in order to find out what is happening เฝ้าดู จับตาดู
coordinate – to organise the different parts of a job or plan so that the people involved work together effectively ประสานงานกัน
timely – happening at the most suitable time ถูกกาละเทศะ
admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it ยอมรับ
effective – producing the result that was intended ได้ผลดี
reliable – (of things or people) able be trusted or believed because they work or behave well in the way you expect เชื่อถือได้, ไว้ใจได้
trust – a feeling of confidence in someone that shows you believe they are honest, fair, and reliable ความเชื่อใจ, ความไว้วางใจ
severity – seriousness ความรุนแรง