BANGKOK (AP) — Heavy rains in central and northeastern Thailand caused new flooding on Monday, with authorities forced to release water into an already swollen river after a reservoir reached full capacity, and others facing the same possibility.
Authorities in the central province of Suphan Buri said flood warnings were in effect for communities along the Tha Chin River after water was released into it from the Krasiao reservoir.
More than 38,000 households have been affected by flooding in the province so far this year, according to the Suphan Buri governor’s office.
On Sunday, officials in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima alerted people living near a dam to closely monitor the situation, as water levels were rising quickly due to heavy rainfall. The local administration was ordered to prepare sandbags and evacuation plans.
Thailand has been hit by large-scale flooding since Tropical Storm Dianmu swept through the upper part of the country in the last week of September, along with seasonal monsoon rains. The floods, especially in the northern and central regions, impacted 300,000 households nationwide and caused 14 deaths in 33 provinces. The situation has eased in more than 24 provinces, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.
Fears that Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Suphan Buri, would be flooded as the water flowed downriver have so far not materialized. Bangkok is situated on the Chao Phraya River, whose headwaters are in the north. Dams and reservoirs store water to help farmers cope with dry season droughts, and can be quickly filled to capacity during the rainy season.
The capital, which experienced devastating floods in 2011, this year has suffered only normal rainy season flooding, which is largely attributed to inadequate drainage systems.
The Meteorological Department reported that monsoon conditions across the central and upper part of the northeast, and a strong southwest monsoon prevailing in the Andaman Sea off southern Thailand, would bring more rain in several provinces, mostly in the northeastern region.
It said parts of Thailand will continue to experience seasonal monsoon rains for the next 10 days.
Story: Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul