Mekong dwellers get flood alert
People living along the Mekong River have been alerted to rising water levels as authorities monitor the situation and stay prepared for emergencies around the clock.
The Mekong levels in the northeastern province of Nong Khai rose quickly Sunday, by 7cm per hour, according to Nong Khai's hydrology authorities under the Water Resources Department.
They said the river level which was recorded at 11.05 metres at noon, nearly reaching the critical level of 11.15 metres, continued to rise due to large amounts of water flowing from the North.
The rising water level flooded a public ground at Hai Sok community in Nong Khai municipality, authorities said, adding the river continued to rise and may surge to 12 metres soon.
Nong Khai municipality mayor Kampol Muangkhote ordered officials to close the sluice gates and the province's drainage system linking to the Mekong River to prevent inflows into the province.
Water pumps have been installed at the sluice gates while about 2,000 sandbags have been distributed to local residents to wall in their houses against possible flooding. Residents are on edge as they watch the river swell.
Also on Sunday, Pramual Larpchit, chief of the disaster prevention and mitigation office of Loei province, asked local authorities to inform residents as the Mekong River levels rose further, to monitor the situation and prepare for emergencies in the next 24 hours.
A hydrology centre in Chiang Khan district of Loei province recorded the river's levels at 14.49 metres, with only 1.51 metres left before the river breaks its banks.
The surge in the water levels resulted from water inflows from Luang Prabang and Xayaburi in Laos which were hit by heavy rain over the past few days as a result of the Dianmu tropical storm.
The surge in the river flooded areas along the river banks in Loei's Pak Chom district and affected large areas of farmland.
In Nakhon Phanom Sunday, the Mekong River continued to surge as a result of water influx from the North. The river's water levels were measured at 10 metres high.
The river was threatening to break its banks in Ban Phaeng, Muang, Tha Uthen, and That Phanom districts. Authorities were worried any more rain would cause flooding in the areas and are warning locals.
Provincial disaster mitigation officials are monitoring the river and have set up a flood prevention centre to deal with emergencies.