Heavy rains cut lifelines
Landslides and flash floods wreak havoc
Published: 6/06/2012 at 09:51 AM Newspaper section:
Landslides and flash floods caused by prolonged heavy rain have wreaked havoc in many parts of Chumphon, Ranong and Mae Hong Son provinces.
Bus battles flood misery
A bus bound for Bangkok from Phuket runs through flooded Asian Highway route 41 near Pathomporn intersection of Chumphon’s Muang district yesterday. A 1km section of the road has been flooded to heights between 20cm and 80cm, making it impassable to small vehicles. AMNARTTHONGDEE
The storms, which began on Sunday night and subsided yesterday morning, flooded roads and homes, badly affecting thousands of people living in the three provinces.
In Chumphon, at least 500 families in two villages of tambon Banna in Muang district and a village in Hin Kaew of Tha Sae district were hit by flash floods with water levels reaching up to 2m in some areas.
Many roads were closed or impassable yesterday due to high water levels. A 1km stretch of the Asian Highway route 41 near Pathomporn intersection in Muang district was under about 20-80cm of water, making it impossible for small vehicles to pass.
Somchai Im-yu, director of the Hydrology and Water Management Centre for the Irrigation Department's Southern Region, said prolonged rain since Sunday night had triggered flash floods in several areas of the province.
Mr Somchai said the Chumphon canal had burst its banks and had flooded several low-lying areas.
Ranong's Kra Buri district was declared the hardest-hit area.
Some areas in Nam Jued municipality in Kra Buri district are under 50cm-1m of flood water. Hundreds of families in the municipality have also been hit.
A 500m-long stretch of the Petchkasem Highway linking Ranong with Chumphon near Kra Buri market was closed to all traffic yesterday.
Ranong governor Peerasak Hinmuangkao said he had told emergency services to evacuate people stranded in flood-prone homes in Kra Buri.
He has also ordered the urgent evacuation of people in flood-prone areas in Kapoe, Kra Buri and La-un districts.
In Mae Hong Son, heavy rains on Monday night triggered landslides, blocking access to Pakalo village in tambon Pang Moo of Muang district.
It took local authorities several hours yesterday to clear a path to the village.
Mae Hong Son governor Naruemol Palawat said she has warned people in Pai, Pang Ma Pha and Muang districts to expect further landslides and water run-off during the rainy season.
The Meteorological Department yesterday warned people in the North and East and in western parts of the South to prepare for heavy rain and possible flooding today and over the next few days.
The department said a low pressure front is now covering the North. The southwest monsoon over the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea will probably cause heavy downpours in these areas.
People living near hillsides and waterways in Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Phetchabun, Chanthaburi, Trat, Chumphon, Ranong and Phangnga should prepare for heavy rain and flash floods, the department said.
Choppy seas are expected in upper parts of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. All shipping should proceed with caution and small boats should stay in port today and the next few days, the department warned.
The cabinet yesterday earmarked 3.8 billion baht to build flood walls around six industrial estates in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani which were badly hit in last year's flood crisis.
The work will be overseen by the Water Resources Management and Flood Control Committee chaired by Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi.
Construction of the walls will take about two months, he said.
Lending a helping hand
Rescue workers from the Ruamkatanyu Foundation help a trapped worker following a landslide yesterday. He was freed after two hours. The accident occurred while he was installing CCTV cameras near the runway at Suvarnabhumi airport. SOMCHAI POOMLARD