Tuesday, October 11, 2011

No let up in the flooding, as Abhisit meets PM

The Chi and Tha Chin rivers on Tuesday overflowed their banks and flooded areas of Maha Sarakham province and Suphan Buri township, forcing people to flee quickly to safer ground with as many of their possessions as they could salvage.
Photo by Pattarachai Preechapanich
In the northeastern province of Maha Sarakham, more than 500 families wre evacuated after the Chi River overflowed its banks, reports said.

People in Moo 8, Moo 16 and Moo 18 villages in Maha Sarakham's Kosum Phisai district had hurriedly moved their belongings to higher ground, left their houses and moved to the entrance of their villages as the river completely flooded their communities.

The floods now cover Kosum Phisai district, affecting 116 villages and over 21,000 people. About 140 square kilometres of farmland and 570 fish ponds have been damaged, and the problems are getting worse, the reports said.

In Suphan Buri province, water from the flood-swollen Tha Chin River has surged into the main township's municipal  area.
The water level was reported to rising quickly and continually and work crews were urgently piling up sandbags to prevent main roads from being inundated.

Meanwhile, army trucks were tonight carrying about 150,000 sandbags no longer needed in Phitsanulok, in the North, to Bangkok to build floodwalls to protect the capital.

Pol Lt-Gen Wanthip Wongwai, the 3rd Army Region commander, said the trucks heading for Bangkok were taking  the Tak Fa-Nakhon Sawan road, which so far is not flooded.

The sandbags had been used since mid-September to build floodwalls along the banks of the Nan River by soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division and  Phitsanulok municipality.

Now the water in the Nan River has dropped to a normal level, the sandbags can be used to build floodwalls to protect Bangkok, Pol Lt-Gen Wanthip said.
Photo by Surapol Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn
Opposition Leader Abhisit Vejjajiva visited flood victims at a temporary shelter in Rangsit today and later had a meeting with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to discuss ways to handle the nationwide flood crisis.

Mr Abhisit led key Democrat Party members to the temporary shelter in Thammasat University's Rangsit campus, where many people from flood-hit Ayutthaya province have taken refuge.

The Democrat leader was accompanied by former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij, former deputy commerce minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot and party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalsut. They gave out 1,000 bags of dried food and mats to the evacuees.

The former prime minister then went to Don Mueang airport, where the government's flood relief command centre is based, to discuss further anti-flood measures.

Before the meeting started, Mr Abhisit was welcomed by Prime Minister Yingluck.

The premier said the government was ready to listen to all sides to help combat the flood crisis.

"We welcome all suggestions because we're doing this for the country," Ms Yingluck said.

She told Mr Abhisit that the government was also working with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, which has a Democrat governor, to help address the flood problem.

The opposition leader replied that all sides must cooperate as the problem was not an issue for individual parties to deal with separately.

Following the conversation, Ms Yingluck took Mr Abhisit and his team to a meeting with the flood relief command centre, chaired by Justice Minister Pracha Promnok.

The meeting was also attended by Bangkok deputy governor Pornthep Techapaibul.

During the meeting, the prime minister explained the flood situation overall, and  in Bangkok, while the Democrat leader expressed concern about the temporary shelters for the flood victims.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department announced today that the current wet season will end about the middle of this month and a new storm being formed over the Philippines is not of concern.

Central Weather Forecast Division director Prawit Jaempanya said that because of the monsoon there will still be some rain, about 40-50mm, in Kanchanaburi, Suphan Buri, Ratchaburi, Bangkok and nearby provinces, and eastern provinces of Rayong, Chon Buri, and Nakhon Nayok for a few more days.

The wet season will end in the middle of this month, he said.

"During this time there may be little to moderate rain and possibly heavy rain in these provinces. There will be no more rain after the end of the monsoon in mid-October, at the end of Buddhist Lent," Mr Prawit said.

The Meteorological Department was not concerned about a new storm forming over the Philippines because it will be weakened by a cold front from China, he added.

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