Sukhothai set to fight Podul aftermath
Phrae runoff poses severe risk of floods
Authorities on Monday stepped up efforts to prevent Sukhothai province from being heavily flooded on Tuesday by massive runoff from the Yom River in the northern province of Phrae after Tropical Storm Podul hit on Friday.
Royal Irrigation Department director-general, Thongplew Kongchan, said on Monday he had ordered authorities to intensify efforts to protect the province from being submerged after he received an urgent order from Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on.
Mr Thongplew said the northern runoff in the Yom River passing through a sluice gate in Wang Chin district of Phrae around midday on Monday was measured at 1,100 cubic metres per second (cu m/s), which is double the capacity of the sluice gate in Si Satchanalai district of downstream Sukhothai, said Mr Thongplew.
To prevent the runoff from flooding downtown areas, he said the department had begun diverting water away from a section of the Yom River before Hat Saphan Chan sluice gate in Sukhothai's Sawankhalok district in two directions.
In one direction, the water was being diverted into the Nan River and the old path of the Yom River via canals, which feed into the Bang Rakam water-catchment area in Phitsanulok, he said.
The Bang Rakam area consists of more than 382,000 rai of low-lying land with a combined retention capacity of 550 million cubic metres, he said.
In the other direction, the water was being diverted into the Thung Thale Luang water catchment area via canals connected with the Yom River, he said.
A number of provinces in the North, the Northeast and Central Plains were affected by floods caused by the impact of Tropical Storm Podul, while the flood situation in many parts of the Northeast has also been exacerbated by the impact of a new Category 2 tropical depression over Hainan, China on Monday. The depression is expected to develop into a new tropical storm in one or two days and will be named Lingling.
Close to 40,000 households in 26 provinces have been affected by floods and landslides since Friday, during which four deaths were reported, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.
Ten of the 26 affected provinces remain affected by floods, namely Phitsanulok, Phichit, Amnat Charoen, Chaiyaphum, Mukdahan, Yasothon, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, Roi Et and Nan.
In Nan province, military rangers and local administrative officers on Monday began searching for Potchaman Ut-ai, 39, who was swept away by a flash flood while riding her motorcycle to work in Thung Chang district.
The tropical depression was also blamed for fresh floods in the northeastern provinces on Monday.
A one-kilometre stretch of Maliwan Road, a main artery in Khon Kaen's muang district, was under 70 centimetres of water in some places on Monday morning, which resulted in severe traffic congestion on the road, which leads to the province's airport.