Majesties fret over floods in North, Isan

Majesties fret over floods in North, Isan

A man carries a child across the Mae Lao River to go to school as other flood victims follow. (Photo by Saiarun Pinaduang)
A man carries a child across the Mae Lao River to go to school as other flood victims follow. (Photo by Saiarun Pinaduang)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday said Their Majesties the King and Queen are concerned over the safety of flood victims and have ordered volunteers in affected provinces to supply meals to them.

Tropical Storm Sinlaku has already ravaged 13 provinces in the northern and northeastern regions, Chayapol Thitisak, director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), told media in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Despite the gradual weakening of the tropical storm that swept in on Aug 1, its effects still remain widespread and severe.

As of Tuesday, 12,689 houses in 32 districts of 13 provinces were damaged by flooding. Three people -- in Nong Bua Lam Phu, Phitsanulok and Udon Thani -- have been confirmed dead in flood-related accidents, said Mr Chayapol.

The affected provinces in the North are Nan, Uttaradit, Lampang, Phayao, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Phrae and Phitsanulok, according to the DDPM's latest flood damage survey.

Among them, Chiang Rai province was the hardest hit, with 10,372 houses inundated by floods. Severe damage was also seen in Nan province, where 668 houses were flooded.

The DDPM also located emerging disasters in Mae Hong Son province. In tambon Huay Pa in Muang district, run-off from mountains brought debris, mud and pebbles into Huay San canal that ended up blocking roads, damaging utility lines, pipes and houses downstream.

The run-off was so severe that villagers had to flee their homes and run to higher ground to find safety.

The worst-hit provinces in the Northeast were Loei, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Udon Thani, Nakhon Phanom and Kalasin. Among them, Loei province suffered the most damage as 795 houses were engulfed by floodwaters.

The DDPM has collaborated with provincial authorities on rescue missions and to deliver rescue items to the affected areas, Mr Chayapol said, adding that the department will supply construction materials for villagers to fix their homes.

In Phitsanulok, the dead body of Noppadol Saenkhwa, 56, principal of Ban Huay Hia School, was retrieved by rescue staff. Noppadol on Monday was reported to have been swept away by runoff as he was fishing.

The National Park Department has ordered the closure of many national parks, especially those with caves and waterfalls, in order to prevent accidents.

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