PHETCHABURI — Ankle-deep floodwaters overran central markets in Phetchaburi city Tuesday, as officials scramble to issue nationwide warnings and respond to rain-driven disasters.
Downtown Phetchaburi is the latest place to be inundated as dams go over their limits, mudslides imperil communities and rivers spill over their banks in provinces throughout the watershed, from Nong Khai to Saraburi in a disaster officials have warned of last month.
Five people have died since the flooding began in late July, and more than 150,000 have been affected, according to Suwannachai Wattanayincharoenchai of the Department of Disease Control Tuesday. A state of emergency has been declared in Phetchaburi, Nakhon Phanom and Bueng Kan.
“Over the past month, we tried to control the water volume, but the situation has changed now. There’s more water, and all sectors are working to drain it to the sea,” said Nuttawut Phetphorahomsorn, deputy Phetchaburi governor. “I think we can handle the levels in the city. There might be flooding, but it won’t take long to bring it down.”
The Kaeng Krachan Dam, 200 kilometers south of Bangkok in Phetchaburi, hit capacity earlier this month and officials there have urged residents to remain vigilant. The current provincial flooding is from both the dam and overflow from the Phetchaburi River, Samrerng Saengphuwong of the Office of National Water Resources said Tuesday.
Currently the city’s commercial center and several major roads are under 10 centimeters of rising water. Phetchaburi’s flooding is currently in the Kaeng Krachan, Tha Yang, Ban Lat, Ban Laem and city districts
Maj. Gen. Surin Nilneung of the 15th Military Circle is on the ground with troops to aid with relief efforts. Phetchaburi City residents seeking help can call hotline 1784 or 191, the local disaster center at 032-426230 or the 15th Military Circle at 032-428560-10.
Nuttawut said that water pumps have been set up in khlongs leading to the sea and areas around the city center.
Rains in North
Residents near the following rivers in the north are at risk of flooding: the Nan River in Nan, the southern Yom River in Sukhothai and Mekong River along the border provinces of Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom and Ubon Ratchathani. Phichit Gov. Weerasak Wijitsaengsri said Tuesday that officials stationed by the Yom and Nan Rivers were on alert for possible flooding.
Flood-related disasters have hit the north especially hard. On Monday, a mudslide in Chaloem Phra Kiat District in Nan cut off the 5,000 inhabitants of Baan Ngom village, while flooding cut off the 1,200 inhabitants of the Baan Sibrae community in Chiang Mai’s Omkoi district from main roads. In the Mae Fah Luang district of Chiang Rai, 15 homes were damaged by a sinkhole.
On Tuesday morning, floods from the Mekong swept away half of 64-year-old Tongkum Chatirat’s home in Nong Khai. The water is 20 centimeters high in Nong Khai City, and at least one school there has canceled classes since Monday.
The Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai Road in Doi Saket District cut off by flooding on Saturday.
Isaan, Central, South
Dams in the northeast, central and southern regions have reached full capacity, said Samrerng: the Naam Oun Dam in Sakhon Nakhon, Vajiralongkorn Dam in Kanchanaburi, Khun Dan Prakarn Chon Dam in Nakhon Nayok and Pran Buri and Yang Chum dams in Prachuap Khiri Khan.
Residents in the south aren’t immune to hazard either: Sunari Boonchoop, a disaster official in Satun, said vessels and people should be alert for strong winds and 3-meter waves raging through Thursday along the Andaman Coast.