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Efforts Stepped Up to Handle the Flooding Situation

October 1, 2013 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

The Government has stepped up efforts to handle the flooding situation, which has affected 30 provinces, causing hardships to 2.4 million people.

In the weekly program “Yingluck Government Meets the People” on 28 September 2013, Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi stated that a single command center, established by the Government for unified operations in water management, is dealing with flooding in the country, with operation units working around the clock.

The command center is chaired by the Prime Minister, who has assigned Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop to take charge of the center, which comprises experts in various fields. The Ministry of Interior is the central agency operating on the instructions of the center.

Mr. Plodprasop said that the amount of floodwater in 2013 was close to that of 2012. The water levels in the Bhumibol and Sirikit dams, two major dams in the North, currently measure only 50 percent of capacity. If more storms take place in the North, the two dams will be able to accommodate more water. In the eastern region, he said, Prachin Buri province was most severely hit by floods and faced difficulties in draining water from the Prachin and Nakhon Nayok rivers, which are rather small. The water level in the Prachin Buri River is the highest in 26 years. The western areas of Bangkok might face a problem, but in general, Bangkok is unlikely to be affected.

The Director-General of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Mr. Chatchai Phromlert, said that flood victims were divided into two groups. The first group has been hit by downpours and flashfloods in 26 provinces. The situation has already eased in five provinces. The second group consists of those who have been affected by overflows. These people live mainly along the Chao Phraya River and various canals in the irrigation areas, starting from Ayutthaya to Ang Thong, Suphan Buri, and Sing Buri.

Mr. Chatchai said that all affected provinces had prepared budget allocations to help flood victims. People in several flood-prone areas have been evacuated, after being warned of the flooding situation. In the initial stage, he said, the authorities would provide the people with accurate information to prevent panic and create confidence among tourists and investors in flood-risk areas.

Meanwhile, Director of the National Disaster Waning Center Somsak Khaosuwan said that the flooding situation in 2013 was completely different from that in 2011, when Thailand experienced a flood crisis. For example, the flow of floodwater in Bang Sai in Ayutthaya is currently between 1,500 and 1,700 cubic meters per second, against 3,800 cubic meters per second in 2011. So the general situation would not repeat that in 2011, when Thailand suffered its worst floods in more than half a century and the floods affected more than 13 million people, from July to December 2011. At that time, the floods inundated 66 provinces out of the country’s 77 provinces.

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