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No let-up in sight for flood crisis

Posted by arnon_k On September - 21 - 2011

Floods will continue to wreak havoc around the country until November as several northern provinces remain inundated while drainage is going slow, the Royal Irrigation Department says.

“The flood crisis won’t improve soon. The department projects that the situation will return to normal in November at the earliest,” said Suthep Noipairoj, director of the RID’s hydrology and water management office yesterday.

Mr Suthep said about 1.8 billion cubic metres of water remain in the Yom and Nan rivers while another 1.2 billion cubic metres is in the Chao Phraya River basin.

Water from the North will be diverted to the Chao Phraya before flowing to the Nakhon Nayok and Bang Pakong rivers and the Gulf of Thailand, he said.

Sucharit Pultanakulwong, a water engineering expert at Chulalongkorn University, said more water pumping stations must be installed to speed up the flow of water so the floods recede.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry plans to build another canal to drain water from the Chao Phraya to the sea to prevent flooding in the Central Plains in the long term, Minister Theera Wongsamut said yesterday.

Mr Theera said the canal, linking the Chao Phraya River in the upper part of Chai Nat to Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon and the Gulf of Thailand, would be 300 metres wide to allow water to flow to the sea rapidly.

In addition, a road would be built on each bank of the canal to improve transport links between the provinces near the new canal.

The ministry is conducting a feasibility study for the 10 billion baht drainage project, he added.

The cabinet yesterday set up a new flood relief committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit.

It is called the committee on the management of flood, mudslide and drought problems. It is expected to integrate and streamline government agencies’ efforts to handle natural disasters, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said.

The prime minister said the cabinet decided to set up the committee because it has found while monitoring government agencies’ attempts to solve problems related to floods and mudslides that each agency worked in a different direction and did not address problems systematically.

Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said City Hall had assessed the situation and believed flood walls along the Chao Phraya River could prevent water runoff from the river from flooding communities.

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department yesterday reported that the floods have claimed 130 lives since July 25. Two people are missing.

The Meteorological Department yesterday issued a warning against heavy rainfall until Friday due to a moderate high pressure area and the southwest monsoon that prevail over the Andaman Sea, the southern provinces and the Gulf of Thailand.

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