Severe flood warnings put 61 provinces on high alert

Severe flood warnings put 61 provinces on high alert

Authorities in 61 provinces across the country are bracing for possible heavy rain over the next week, that could trigger severe flooding, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) says.

Department director-general Chayapol Thitisak said warnings were issue as result of present weather conditions, checks on waterway levels and forecasts from the Thai Meteorological Department (TMD).

He said a depression over the South China Sea and a strengthening southwest monsoon in Andaman Sea, the South and the Gulf of Thailand would result in rain, including heavy downpours in some areas, in the North, Northeast, Central Plains and the South.

Of the 61 provinces, 17 are in the North, 17 in the Northeast, 18 in the Central Plains and nine in the South, Mr Chayapol said.

Provincial authorities and local DDPM offices, he said, were urged to prepare for rain and heavy downpours over the next week by fine-tuning plans to cope with flood disasters as well as arrange emergency response units and equipment to assist potential victims.

The officials were instructed to ensure the effective drainage of floodwater, particularly along main roads and in communities.

They were also asked to deploy water pumps along waterways and make ready areas which could help retain water, Mr Chayapol noted.

In the event of flooding, command centres will be established at both provincial and district levels, he said. Emergency centres in local administrative organisations would also be formed to deal with potential problems.

If needed, the military would be called in to support emergency services and provide additional equipment to assist victims, he said.

In Trat, heavy rain in Muang district and surrounding areas triggered floods along various roads in the province yesterday morning.

A 200-metre stretch between kilometre marker 315 and 316 on Sukhumvit Road was under 20-30 centimetres of water following the downpour, causing very heavy traffic.

About 30cm of floodwater was reported along a road near Trat bus terminal, making it very difficult for people to reach. Muang municipality officials deployed water pumps to drain water from the area.

The DDPM office in Trat meanwhile issued a warning about torrential rains, which could trigger landslides in Bo Rai and Koh Chang districts over the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, flooding was reported on Mittraphap Road in front of Central Plaza in Khon Kaen's Muang district, stretching more than a kilometre.

Floodwater reaching up to 60cm was reported to have caused heavy traffic along the route.

Khon Kaen governor Somsak Jangtrakul said local officials were instructed to speed up releasing water from Bueng Nong Kot, one of three major water-retention areas in Muang district, so it would have enough space to receive floodwater from Muang municipality.

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