Flood victims left in the lurch after aid hold-up

Flood-affected residents in Kabin Buri district of Prachin Buri have blasted provincial and local authorities for ignoring their plight.

  • Published: 9/10/2013 at 12:00 AM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

A man wading through floodwater in Prachin Buri’s Kabin Buri municipality laughs as he reads a placard with a message, ‘‘This flooded house is not for sale, but will be given away for free’’. Many residents of Kabin Buri have complained about slow state assistance after being badly hit by flooding. THITI WANNAMONTHA

Sawai Rattanawan, 55, a resident of soi Paisanee community in Kabin municipality, said yesterday residents were suffering their worst flooding in 40 years and state assistance has not reached them. The municipality had given the residents food coupons instead of food, he said.

The locals had to wade through rising floodwaters to the municipality office to redeem the coupons, Mr Sawai said.

Pol Snr Sgt Maj Pinthong Thepthong, attached to Kabin Buri police station, 45, joined locals' complaints about slow assistance. The municipality had failed to send boats to residents, even though the district is hit by floods every year, he said.

Residents were forced to rely on boats donated by a local rescue foundation. He said no boats were sent to evacuate elderly people from their flooded homes.

"In the more than two weeks of flooding all my family received is four packs of bottled drinking water," Pol Snr Sgt Maj Pinthong said.

Many residents near Kabin Buri municipal market fled their homes late on Monday night as runoff from Khao Chakan and Muang districts of nearby Sa Kaeo province arrived.

Floodwaters were 1.7 metres deep in some areas after the first round ravaged their communities on Sept 20.

Anan Arsa, 30, a rescue worker from Sawangbampen Prachin Buri rescue foundation, said the rescue teams received little cooperation from local bodies in battling the flood.

Local leaders of communities unaffected by the floods were asked to help, but they refused.

Some local leaders would only show up at the scene of floods when the provincial governor inspected flood-hit communities, he said.

His rescue foundation has provided 300 food boxes a day to soldiers helping residents, Mr Anan said.

The head of the military flood-relief unit, who declined to be named, said his men worked from dawn to almost noon without food.

They asked for meals from the district office only to be told it was not responsible for the food supply.

Col Jakpong Srisuwan, commander of the 12th Army Circle's training centre, said there were not enough flat-bottomed boats for relief missions.

There were many flooded areas in Kabin Buri district where state assistance was still lacking, he added.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday assigned all cabinet ministers to take part in overseeing flood relief operations in various flooded areas.

She also told them to visit affected residents, deputy government spokesman Pakdiharn Himathongkham said after the weekly cabinet meeting.

Meanwhile, Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra yesterday ordered the lifting of the Klong Song sluice gate from 10cm to 40cm to speed up the drainage of water from Klong Hok Wa which stretches along the boundary of Sai Mai district.

MR Sukhumbhand also inspected the Klong Song sluice gate in Sai Mai district and two more sluice gates in Klong Sam Wa and Min Buri districts.

Main Street Prachin Buri, and it has the look of a river crossing. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

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