CHAIYAPHUM: All but two districts of this central northeastern province have been hit by the worst flooding in 50 years, governor Wichian Chantaranothai said on Monday.
Of the 16 districts, only Kaeng Khro and Sap Yai had not been flooded. The 14 others had been declared disaster zones, the governor said.
Flooding was particularly damaging in three districts - Muang, Bamnet Narong and Chaturat - with Muang district being hardest hit, Mr Wichian said.
Over 10,000 households had suffered from the huge volume of water discharged from the Lam Khan Chu Dam reservoir, the governor said.
In Bamnet Narong, about 3,000 houses in 23 villages were reported flooded. Residents said it was the most severe fooding in 100 years.
In Muang district, the entire business area was inundated. The water level was 50 centimetres to 2 metres deep, leaving nearly 25 communities inundated. The governor said residents in the flooded communities were out of food and drinking water.
Muang Chaiyaphum Municipality had distributed necessities, food and drinking water to about 5,500 residents during the past three days. A royally-sponsored kitchen had been set up to prepare food for distribution.
Troops from the 2nd Army had been deployed to help people in distress.
At Chaiyaphum Hospital, which is prone to regular flooding, sandbag walls had been reinforced and pumps installed to drain water to keep the premises dry.
In tambons Chilong, Nong Na Saeng, Ban Khai and Kut Tum of Muang district, many houses were completely submerged. Villagers went up the rooftops to wait for evacuation. Electricity and water supplies to villages were cut off as a safety precaution.
In Bamnet Narong district, patients at Bamnet Narong Hospital had been moved to other hospitals nearby. The water level was 1-2 metres deep.
In Chaturat district, troops and local officials in big high-clearance vehicles and flat-bottom boats were providing assistance to flood-hit villagers, especially in tambons Nong No and Kut Nam Sai, and evacuating them to high ground.
Kittipong Thamsoparat, the Tambon Ban Phet Municipality mayor, said a huge volume of water had flowed into the district through adjoining Thep Sathit district in Chaiyaphum and Thepharak and Dan Khun Thod districts of Nakhon Ratchasima.
Tambon Ban Phet was the worst affected. There were 23 villages in the sub-district with more than 3,000 homes. All the houses were flooded.
Of the 23 villages, Nong Phak Waen, or Moo 21 village, with about 600 houses, was hardest hit.
The entire village was inundated with water about 2 metres deep. Some of the houses were completely submerged. Residents had been forced up onto their rooftops.
Rescuers from the Nakhon Ratchasima-based Hook 31 rescue unit and local officials were using speedboats and flat-bottomed boats to evacuate them to temples and schools on higher ground.
The rescue was made difficult by the deep, rapidly flowing water. Villagers had to be lowered from the rooftops on slings to the rescue boats.
Mr Kittipong said this year's flooding in Bamnet Narong district was probably the most severe in 100 years.
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On Monday morning, the water level was steady, raising hopes it had peaked and would gradually recede and return to normal in a week or so, he said.
A resident is helped to a rescue boat.
Rescuers help evacuate villagers from the upper floor of a house.