PM wants flood listed on national agenda
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PM wants flood listed on national agenda

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has ordered all agencies to work together to prevent floods during this year's rainy season as he mulls including flood mitigation as a national agenda item.

The announcement was made after several high-ranking government officials -- including Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai, Deputy Prime Minister and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Phatcharavat Wongsuwan, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow, Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR) secretary-general Surasee Kittimonthon and Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt -- met yesterday to discuss preparations for the peak of the rainy season.

At the meeting, the prime minister was briefed on the latest rainfall and flood situation across the country, steps taken to reduce the possibility of natural disasters, as well as the plan to help those affected by such disasters.

"I'd like all sectors to cooperate and determine a clear time frame [for action] and establish a clear KPI [key performance indicator]," Mr Srettha said.

ONWR secretary-general Surasee told Mr Srettha that floods are still likely to occur, given the increasing intensity of rain over the next few months -- especially around Bangkok.

Meanwhile, Capt Thamanat pointed out that the current administration has yet to come up with a framework for dealing with flood-related emergencies.

He urged the government to set up a centre for such emergencies in every region -- a suggestion welcomed by Mr Srettha as part of the government's effort.

The prime minister said floods and other weather-related problems, such as drought, should be declared a national agenda item to allow for better long-term planning.

"During the rainy season, which will continue over the next three months, the most important thing is to foster unity in our cooperation," he said.

"We understand that floods occur every year, but we must minimise their impact as much as we can."

While he hoped to hear no reports of widespread flooding this year, Mr Srettha said there is still the need to have medical supplies ready in the case of an emergency.

ONWR deputy secretary-general Paitoon Kengkarnchang said downpours with the potential to cause floods can still be expected in August and September.

He said sufficient preparations will allow the government to deal with such disasters effectively.

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