Isaan Hit By Heavy Flooding With Two More Storms To Come

Nan province Isaan/Photo Vajiravit Leardbamrungchai

North-Eastern provinces have been warned of heavy flooding due to the overflowing Mekong River and reservoirs, following days of heavy rains.

The warning by local authorities came as Thailand braces for at least two more storms originating in the Pacific Ocean between August and September.

Rising water levels in Mekong River yesterday caused flooding in many areas of Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan provinces, which are located along the international waterway.

In Sakon Nakhon, following five days of heavy rains, large amounts of overflowing water from small dams and reservoirs increased the water level in Nong Han Lake, which is spread over 72,000 rai (28,466 acres) in the northeastern province’s Muang district.

Local residents have been warned to move their belongings to higher ground in preparation for possible inundation, particularly in areas around the lake.

In Ubon Ratchathani province, water levels in the Mekong along its Khong Chiam, Khemarat, Na Tan and Pho Sai districts continued to rise after days of downpours.

Low-lying areas in those districts were underwater yesterday. Hundreds of rai of farmland became flooded as a result.

Residents and their cattle were evacuated to safer areas.

In Nakhon Phanom, farming areas along the Mekong were inundated yesterday, as rains lashed the entire province.

The highest water level in the river that passes the province’s municipal area was measured at 11.27 metres, which is 1.73 metres below the critical level.

Residents in low-lying and riverside areas have been advised to move their belongings to higher ground and brace for possible flooding.

In Mukdahan province, many roads became impassable following a flash flood caused by rains. Many rice and rubber plantations were submerged and roads to several communities cut off. Provincial authorities said the water level in Mekong River reached a high of 11.44 metres, whereas the critical level is 12.5 metres.

Local officials and residents were on high alert for a second round of inundation, after more heavy rains yesterday.

The Meteorological Department has predicted heavy downpours in the North and Northeast for the rest of the month, covering as much as 80 per cent of the areas.

Meanwhile, authorities in Kanchanaburi province have warned of possible flooding in five districts as the province’s Vajiralongkorn Dam is holding record volumes of water.

Provincial governor Jirakiat Phumsawat sent an urgent letter to the chiefs of five districts – Muang, Thong Pha Phum, Sai Yok, Tha Muang and Tha Maka – likely to be affected by the large volumes of water being released from the dam.

The dam is holding 3,325 million cubic metres of water – the largest volume in 34 years. It is releasing 28 million cubic metres of water a day in order to maintain the appropriate volume of water in its reservoir, following continuous heavy rains, according to the governor’s letter.

Local officials maintained that the dam remained stable and safe.

Four major dams in the Central region – Bhumibol, Sirikit, Kwae Noi and Pasak Jalasid – are holding about 55 per cent of their combined capacity, according to the Royal Irrigation Department. Too much water released from those dams could affect Bangkok and the surrounding provinces.

Heavy rains have caused flooding and landslides in different areas of the country, including Kanchanaburi in the West and Nan in the North.

In Tak, a landslide partly damaged a house in Mae Sot district yesterday. All residents of the house were safe.

Earlier, landslides over the weekend in Nan’s Bo Kluea district resulted in eight deaths and shut down several roads.

The district chief ordered the evacuation of 33 remaining families from a valley village after a mudslide from a mountain buried four houses, killing eight villagers.

Nan Governor Paisal Wimonrat said yesterday resources had been mobilised, “but as of now, you still cannot use many roads”. Access to Bo Kluea was only possible via Pua district, he said.

(Source:-The Nation, Thailand)

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