Sukhothai floods race downstream

Sukhothai floods race downstream

Water diversion to protect Phitsanulok

Massive runoff from the Sukhothai floods -- set to hit the downstream province of Phitsanulok in a few days -- will be diverted to the pan-shaped Bang Rakam flood catchment area to protect the province's city centre.

Local authorities from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives were told yesterday to prepare for the water diversion in the Yom River into the Bang Rakam flood catchment area after torrents of water from Nan and Phrae flooded several areas in Sukhothai.

Narapat Kaewtong, an assistant to the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Chalermchai Sri-on, visited Phitsanulok yesterday to closely monitor flood-prevention initiatives at Klong Bang Kaew sluice gate in Bang Rakam district.

Mr Narapat said that large amount of water is running from Sukhothai to Bang Rakam and Phrom Phiram districts in Phitsanulok through the Yom River and it is planned to be drained out into the Bang Rakam flood catchment area.

He said ministry officials are also asking for cooperation from farmers who own surrounding land to help with retaining the water.

Kriangkrai Pakpiset, director of Phitsanulok Provincial Irrigation Office, reported the flood mass that is going to hit Phitsanulok came from Phrae and Sukhothai and had reached its highest point at 1,499 cubic metres a second on Monday. It is no longer of concern as rainfall decreased, adding that 100 million cubic metres can be easily handled with a drainage basin.

In Phichit, the Yom River along Sam Ngam, Pho Prathap Chang, Bueng Na Rang and Pho Thale districts has been hit by floods from Phrae, Uttaradit, Sukhothai and Phitsanulok and has risen to four metres in the last few days, with water levels increasing and set to reach the town in five days.

Sirirat Chumuppakan, Phichit governor, said yesterday he had called a meeting with his officials and warned Yom riverside dwellers to move their belongings to high ground prevent them being submerged.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported flooding has occurred in 10 provinces in total -- Nan, Phrae, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Phayao, Uttaradit, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Sukhothai and Tak.

Landslides caused by heavy rain hit three provinces, namely Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai and Nan from Aug 20 up until yesterday. Chayapol Thitisak, the department's director-general, said 17,055 houses have been affected and two people were killed.

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