Nine dead, but Plodprasop says floods are under control
Floods triggered by heavy rains have claimed at least nine lives in Thailand this month and affected up to 1.5 million people, according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.
- Published: 24/09/2013 at 06:14 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
The level of floodwaters in some areas of Prachin Buri rose as high as one metre on Tuesday. (Photo by Thanarak Khoonton)
Flooding has been reported in 23 of 77 provinces, the department said on Tuesday.
Nine people have drowned over the past week in the northeastern provinces of Surin and Si Sa Ket, it said.
In Pathum Thani, floodwater from the swollen Rangsit Prayurasakdi Canal has engulfed more than 1,000 homes in Muang district.
Meanwhile, the Chao Phraya Dam in Chai Nat and Pimai Dam in Nakhon Ratchasima have started releasing water in preparation for deluges from upstream.
Maitri Pitanon, director of the Irrigation Office in Ayutthaya, said the Chao Phraya Dam is releasing water at 2,100 cubic metres per second, and will do so every day until the end of September. On some days, water may be released as quickly as 2,500 cubic metres per second. This means water levels below the dam may increase between 75cm and 125cm.
Mr Maitri said floods in Ayutthaya have spread to eight districts, with the highest water levels in Bang Ban and Sena districts between one and two metres, and set to increase by at least 65cm.
In Nakhon Ratchasima, water levels in the Moon River in Pimai district have increased rapidly because of water flowing in from other smaller rivers.
As of Tuesday morning, the Thung Sumrith Water Pipe and Maintenance Project in Pimai district reported water exceeding storage levels by about 152.58 cubic metres so officials opened six water gates, to allow the release of 16 million cubic metres per day.
Pimai Dam officials are also releasing around 130,000 cubic metres of water a day into a waterway, to provide space for water flowing in from Lam Takong, Lam Chiang Klai, Lam Boriboon and Lam Mun rivers.
The Meteorological Department has forecast heavy rains for the remainder of the month, especially in northern provinces.
Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said on Tuesday that the flood situation is under control and the volume of water currently being dealt with is far lower than in the great floods of 2011
"This year's flooding should about a third of that suffered two years ago because the water inundating many areas is the result of heavier than expected rain, not a mass of water.
"I believe the government is capable of controlling the water situation," added Mr Plodprasop, who is the chairman of the government's Water and Flood Management Commission (WFMC).
He said flooding in Thailand's eastern provinces, especially in Prachin Buri's Kabin Buri district, which has been experiencing its heaviest rainfall for 26 years, was due to a depression and the fact that the area is on a mountain slope.
Authorities will speed up the drainage of floodwater from the area to nearby rivers and the situation should improve within three days, if there is no further rainfall, he said.
He said the overall outlook for the northeast has improved, but warned people living on the banks of the Chao Phraya River to expect some flooding because officials are pumping water into the main waterway to reduce flooding in the Central Plains.
Asked about Royal Irrigation Department chief Pramote Maiklad's protest against the construction of the Mae Wong Dam in Nakhon Sawan, Mr Plodprasop said the Mae Wong Dam idea was in fact proposed by Mr Pramote in the first place, adding that he is backing the project.
"I will stick with the voice of the majority and the locals living in the area, and I will listen to those who have different views," he said.
There was no need for him to travel to Nakhon Sawan to assess the environmental impact of the project, since those agencies responsible were already studying the issue, he added.
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