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North Thailand floods 'caused by lack of drainage'
Publication Date : 01-08-2013
Dr Royol Chitradon, director of the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute (HAII), yesterday said the flooding in north Thailand resulted from insufficient water-drainage channels, and also warned people in the northeast to brace for the arrival of Tropical Storm Jebi in the next two to three days.
Citing his recent visit to flood-hit Nan, Royol said the inundation resulted from people building roads without drainage ways - possibly due to a lack of funds or proper planning - while forestland was taken for agricultural use, leading to a lack of water-retention areas.
Royol said the key factor behind the floods wasn't the rain itself, but mismanagement of land usage. While flooding was a seasonal phenomenon in the north, the bigger issue was land subsidence due to poor drainage, he said.
Jebi is being closely monitored by HAII and related agencies, he said. It will bring more rain to the northeast and east as well as the upper north. As a result, the northeast would have plenty of water and not suffer severe drought this year as previously feared.
In Rayong, Royol said gusty winds would deter ongoing efforts to eradicate oil slicks as wind would spread the oil further. He urged the situation be speedily dealt with.
Army Region 3 yesterday dispatched 15 boats and 30 trucks to aid flood-affected people in Tak's Mae Sot district, which remains submerged. Mae Ramad district saw Ban Wang Pha in Tambon Mae Jara resemble a large pond due to high floodwaters. In Kanchana-buri's Sangkhlaburi district, the Royal Thai Army's Mobile Development Unit 11 officers with heavy machines helped dig flood-drainage channels, clear landslide spots and aid locals' evacuation from rising floodwaters.
With a large volume of runs-off expected, Uttaradit's Sirikit Dam director Thanarat Phummakasi-korn said the dam and Tak's Bhumibol Dam could each take 6 billion cubic metres of water. Both facilities could slow their water releasing to prevent flooding in downstream areas, Thanarat said.
In Ranong, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department officials were instructed to watch out for landslides following several days of heavy rain.