Central Plains brace for severe floods
Thousands suffer as water turns putrid
Communities living along the Chao Phraya River in Central Plains areas are suffering as run-off from the river continues to rise.
In seven tambons of Sapphaya district in the Central province of Chai Nat, thousands of villagers are suffering from ill-health with skin rashes as flood waters turn putrid and exude bad odours.
The murky flood waters prompted Sapphaya district chief Prapas Wandia to order officers to help pump and increase the circulation of water, and spray effective micro-organisms (EM) into the water to improve its quality.
The evidence of high flooding is pronounced in Bang Ban district in Ayutthaya. Known as a flood retention area, the level of water here has reached three metres, one metre more than local villagers expected.
The main road linking the community with nearby Phak Hai district was almost impassable as the road was under 60 cm of flood water, said Pol Col Kantaphong Nilkham, chief of Bang Ban district police, adding the water level was still rising.
Communities in the Sam Khok district of Pathum Thani were shocked to see a mass deluge after the flood level from northern runoff in the Chao Phraya River was compounded by high tides.
Pim Pawi, who lives in a house in Moo 3 in tambon Thai Ko of Sam Khok district said her home and other houses and riverside restaurants have been submerged by half a metre of water for a fortnight.
Thongplew Kongjun, deputy director of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, said the overall water situation in the Chao Phraya River is likely to improve as the level of flooding above the Chao Phraya dam at the C2 station in Ping River in Nakhon Sawan's Muang district measured yesterday was 3,049 cubic metres per second, lower from 3,059 cu/m per second, a day before.
He said the water might rise slightly, about 10cm until tomorrow, as runoff from the Ping River, via Kamphaeng Phet province and flowing from the Sakae Krang River, will add water volume above the Chao Phraya dam until tomorrow.
The flooding situation in the upper part of the country also remained critical yesterday as at least two major dams need to continue discharging excess water into the rivers, which were exacerbating flooding in communities along the rivers downstream.
To ease the draining, the navy yesterday sent 55 boats to help accelerate the speeds of the flow of water in Tha Chin River.
The engines of the boats -- while being locked in the same position -- are believed to improve the speed at which water drains into the sea and consequently the overall flooding situation in the Chao Phraya basin.
The situation in the northeastern region remains even more worrying. Ubol Ratana dam in Khon Kaen released 54 million cubic metres of excess water per day for three consecutive days, after the dam reached 122% storage capacity.
That spurred the authority to release a higher volume of water. As a result, swathes of land where residential communities and farms downstream of the Phong River were gravely affected.
The flood level has been so high that many villagers needed to leave their homes and camp on the streets.
Among them is Boonrod Sangchana, 74, a free-range duck keeper. Mr Boonrod packed a few basic necessities and dozens of ducks to stay on a dry road.
He said he was concerned for the safety of his ducks as motorists might hit them.
Another worry was the flood might make his ducks too stressed to lay eggs.
Downstream provinces have started to feel the impact. After the flood in Maha Sarakham province, the water released from a dam in Khon Kaen also flowed down to Kalasin and inundated three districts -- Khong Chai, Kamalasai and Rong Kham.
The water in the Chi River rose dramatically yesterday and nearly flowed over the flood wall built along more than 22 kilometres of the river.
That prompted provincial administrative officials to lay sand bags on top of the flood wall hoping to keep the rising water at bay.
Provincial governor Kraisorn Kongchalat admitted the water levels in the river had risen to a point that is close to the most critical point recorded in 2011 when the country had a similar major flood crisis.