Northeast braces for more flash flooding

A tropical depression in the South China Sea is threatening to hit Thailand today and tomorrow, raising concerns over flash floods, especially in Ubon Ratchathani and the lower Northeast.

A villager harvests unripe bananas as flood waters at her home keep rising in Bang Ban district of Ayutthaya. The Chao Phraya River has overflowed, flooding farmland and many banana orchards in the low-lying district. SUNTHORN PONGPAO

Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi voiced particular concern for Ubon Ratchathani, one of the first provinces in the Northeast likely to be affected by any downpours.

Although Mr Plodprasop said he expected the depression would also hit the North and the Central Plains, he was confident there would not be a repeat of the 2011 flood that ravaged much of the country including Bangkok.

The depression was forecast to make landfall in Vietnam today before moving in a westerly direction over Laos.

It is predicted to lash Thailand's Northeast tomorrow.

Ubon Ratchathani is expected to be hit severely, as are Mukdahan and Amnat Charoen and the eastern provinces, according to the Meteorological Department.

Stormy weather is forecast to continue until Saturday.

More rainfall is also expected in Bangkok. City officials will drain canals to and prepare pumps in areas that are prone to flooding.

Adisak Khanti, chief of the city's Drainage and Sewerage Department, said officials have also built temporary flood walls along the banks of the Chao Phraya River.

In Ayutthaya, riverside communities have seen a rise in flood water in districts including Bang Ban after heavy rains.

Flooding was one metre deep in some areas and is rising by about 30 centimetres a day, said Chatri Yuprasoet, deputy head of Ayutthaya Provincial Administration Organisation.

The situation is worrying for villagers as their banana farms are at risk.

Many residents were forced to move their belongings to higher ground and to the sides of local roads, he said.

Elsewhere, heavy rainfall has triggered run-off from the Wang Thong mountain range and flooded sections of the Phitsanulok-Lom Sak Highway.

The flood forced the closure of the road after resulting subsidence left a 15-metre-wide hole in the highway.

In Phichit's Sam Ngam district, the Yom River has burst its banks, inundating 20 homes in tambon Rang Nok.

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