Better flood warning system needed

Without adequate flood warning, businesses cannot evacuate in time. After suffering great damage, business failure looms for many.

mushroom farm damaged

In the photo above, Somjit Wongkamhan surveys the damages at his mushroom farm in Ayutthaya’s Maha Rat district after flooding there.

Better flood warning systems may be needed. Such a system would forecast the river level at different places. These predictions would in turn be used to issue public warnings if necessary (See Wikipedia and Google images and example1 and example2).

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FLOODS: Farmers slam lack of diversion warning by Sunthorn Pongpao & Prasit Tangprasert


Furious Ayutthaya farmers have slammed irrigation officials for not warning them before they diverted water from rivers to their farmlands during the recent effort to save Bangkok from run-off from the North.

Agricultural businesses and more than 370,000 rai of farmland in the irrigation area have been damaged.

More than 250,000 farm animals have been killed during the flooding...

The Royal Irrigation Department has been criticised after it was accused of diverting water from Lop Buri and Pasak rivers to many communities and crop lands without warning.

The two rivers merge with the Chao Phraya River in Ayutthaya before flowing on to Bangkok. The department needed to divert part of the water to vast paddy fields along the rivers to save the capital from the huge influx of water.

''I'm only khon ban nok [คนบ้านนอก, country man],'' said rice and straw mushroom farmer Somjit Wongkamhan, referring to the inferior image of farmers held by many Bangkok residents."

''Our paddies were submerged but how could we tell Bangkok folk to be aware of our sacrifice? The capital is important, but khon ban nok like me have no value,' he said. '

Mr Somjit's 30 rai of paddy, three straw mushroom cultivation plants and gardens in Maha Rat district were all damaged by the flood. He said he had nothing to sell to earn money to repay his debts to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), the Village Fund and non-bank lenders. Debts worth 310,000 baht in total.

Mr Somjit and other affected farmers are struggling to make ends meet and desperately need financial aid.

But the government needs to make sure money is paid to farmers, especially those with agri-businesses, so they can cover their huge investment, Mr Wichian said.

People in other flood-hit provinces are also struggling to revive their damaged businesses.

Pottery makers and sellers in Ban Dan Kwian in Nakhon Ratchasima's Chok Chai district, who were forced to temporarily halt their businesses after the province was hit by a flash flood on Oct16, called on the government to improve its flood warning system.

Many victims complained that state agencies were slow to warn them of the impending disaster.

A quick warning is needed so that they have time to remove their valuable assets to safe places, they said.

The flood has swamped furnaces in pottery plants and damaged much pottery in shops. A total of 120 of 220 pottery plants and all 650 pottery shops in the area were affected, .... [It is] estimated the Dan Kwian pottery business suffered about 15 million baht in damage.

(Source: FLOODS, Farmers slam lack of diversion warning, 8/11/2010, Sunthorn Pongpao & Prasit Tangprasert, link)

flood warning system - forecasting and predicting the river level at different places and then using this to issue warnings to the public if necessary (See Wikipedia and Google images and example1 and example2)
forecast - a statement about what will happen in the future based on information available now พยากรณ์
predictions - same as "forecast"
issue public warnings - make announcement so that all the people in an area can know that there is a dangerous situation, so they can prepare

slam - to strongly criticise someone or something วิพากษ์วิจารณ์อย่างรุนแรง
lack - does not have ขาดแคลน
irrigation - the process of bringing water to land through a system of pipes, ditches, etc. in order to make crops grow ระบบชลประทาน (See Wikipedia)
diverted - caused something to change direction เบนเส้นทางเดินน้ำ
effort - an attempt to do something ความพยายาม
run-off - water flowing away from or out of something น้ำไหลผ่าน

merge - (of two or more groups) to join together to become one การรวมกัน
divert - make travel in a different direction, along a different route เปลี่ยนเส้นทาง As
vast - extremely large in area, size, amount, etc. กว้างใหญ่, มหาศาล
paddy - rice after it has been harvested from the field ข้าวเปลือก
capital - the city which is the center of government in a country
influx - large amounts of something coming into a place
country person - a person not from the city but from the lesser developed farming areas of a country คนบ้านนอก
inferior - someone or something who is lower in rank or social position than others ผู้น้อย
image - an opinion that people have about someone or something ภาพลักษณ์
residents - people who live in an area ผู้อยู่อาศัย
submerged - under water จมน้ำ อยู่ใต้น้ำ
aware - knowing that something exists, or having knowledge or experience of a particular thing ทราบ
sacrifice - important or valuable things given up, so that you or other people can have or do something else ความเสียสละเพื่อส่วนรวม

cultivation - growing plants
plants - factories
repay debts - when a borrower pays back to a lender money loaned to them
Village Fund -
a system for making loans at the village level (microfinance) started during the Thaksin era
Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC) -
Thai government bank specialising in microfinance and banking for farming households (See website, a case study [pdf] at the FAO)
struggling - having serious difficulties มีความยุ่งยาก
make ends meet - make enough money to survive (here: to continue in business)
desperately - extremely or very much อย่างเต็มที่, in a very worried or angry way อย่างสิ้นหวัง, feeling or showing that you have little hope and are ready to do anything without worrying about danger to yourself or others ทิ้งไพ่ตาย อย่างสุดชีวิต อย่างเอาเป็นเอาตาย
aid - help; assistance ความช่วยเหลือ
financial aid - money given to a person or organization to help them solve a problem they have เงินช่วยเหลือ 

agri-business - a business related to agriculture and farming
cover - cover expenses, pay for business costs (expenses) so that the business does not lose too much money and fail
investment - taking your money and putting it into projects to make a profit or earn interest (buying stock shares, bonds, real estate)
revive - to come or bring something back to life, health, existence, or use ทำให้ฟื้นชีพ, ชุบชีวิต 
temporarily - for a limited period of time ชั่วคราว
halt - to stop หยุด
flash flood –
a flood that happens suddenly without warning น้ำที่เกิดท่วมในที่ต่ำโดยฉับพลันทันทีและไหลลดลงอย่างรวดเร็ว
improve - to make better ทำให้ดีขึ้น

victims
- people who are killed injured or harmed in some way from an accident, natural disaster, crime, etc.
state - government รัฐ
impending - (usually of something unpleasant or unwanted) going to happen soon
disaster - something very bad that happens and causes a lot of damage or kills a lot of people ความหายนะ ภัยพิบัติ
remove - to take something away เอาออกจาก
valuable - worth a lot of money มีค่า
assets - things owned, especially property and money สินทรัพย์
swamped - when too many problems or work happens too quickly and you do not have enough time to deal with all of it, overburden, overwhelm, overload, ทำให้แบกรับภาระ, ทำให้หนักอึ้ง, inundate, flood, sink, submerge ทำให้ท่วม, ทำให้จมอยู่ในน้ำ
furnace - a container burn fuel inside, used for heating a building or for an industrial process such as making pottery or metal liquid (See Wikipedia) เตาหลอม
mayor - the chief, head, leader of a town

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer