Floods force farmers into early harvest

Floods force farmers into early harvest

Warning after mekong banks break

Farmers in Nong Khai scrambled to harvest their crops at short notice after the Mekong River overflowed its banks on Friday night.

Water levels topped 11 metres, causing floods to farmlands and sparking a rush to save crops from devastation, as torrential rains lashed the country, flooding parts of the Northeast, the North and the South.

Nong Khai farmers were forced to harvest large quantities of chillies and aubergines early, but the produce should command a higher price because the vegetables are out of season.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, floods in Chum Phuang district centre damaged several houses and schools. Sections of the Chum Phuang-Lampaimas Road were cut off.

In Sida district, Phimai Historical Park — which houses ancient Khmer architecture — and several homes in Non Pradu village were inundated by floodwaters. Flooded roads in the district caused severe traffic congestion.

In Nakhon Phanom, downpours caused the Mekong River to overflow into six districts, damaging houses and plantations. 

Water levels in the river had receded over the past few months due to the drought. 

At least 21 tambons and 169 villages in Nakhon Phanom have been flooded, while more than 47,712 rai of farmland has been affected, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

Department officials are working with local authorities to inspect flood damage and provide first aid to residents.

People in the province have been urged to monitor weather reports and prepare for flash floods, since rivers further north are expected to overflow this week, causing a knock-on rise in that part of the Mekong.

In Loei, water levels in the Mekong have stood dangerously high at 13 metres for several days.

In Phrae, an overflowing river caused landslides in Banna Khuna village in Suan Keaun tambon, cutting off several roads and blocking community walkways.

Authorities inspected affected areas and sent in an excavator to clear debris from the blocked walkways. Locals have been warned to prepare for more landslides.

Krabi province in the South also suffered floods as major canals overflowed after heavy rainfall.

A team of military officers was deployed to assist locals in Moo 6 of Tapprik tambon in Muang district after their houses were inundated. The officers helped residents move their belongings to higher ground.

Water levels in canals stood at two metres yesterday and are expected to rise further in the next couple of days.

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Pitipong Phuengboon Na Ayudhaya urged farmers in 22 Central Plains provinces not to plant a second rice crop because of a lack of water for agricultural purposes.

He said rain continues to fall in the region, but not enough to support farming.

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