Floods in 29 Thai provinces, but not enough for national aid

Floods in 29 Thai provinces, but not enough for national aid
Residents sit on a loader and boat as it makes its way down a flooded street at Srimahaphot district in Prachin Buri province, east of Bangkok September 24, 2013.

Though 29 provinces remain inundated, officials say the level is still at Category 2

THAILAND - Handling the flood situation in the provinces is being left up to the provincial authorities because it still falls under the government-set Category 2. It is only when the situation hits Category 4, that the Water and Flood Management Commission (WFMC) will step in.

Meanwhile, the number of flood-related deaths rose to 37 as 29 provinces remained under water as of press time yesterday, with Sa Kaew, Prachin Buri and Chachoengsao being the hardest-hit.

Royol Chitradon, a WFMC member, said the floods in several provinces were currently being managed according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Act. The Act classifies flood disasters in four categories - 1 being the mildest and 4 the worst.

District and provincial authorities handle the first two levels, while joint-provincial and state authorities control the last two levels. The state authority to handle Category 4 floods is the WFMC, he explained.

The provincial governor and the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department (DPMD) officials are now managing the situation in Prachin Buri, Royol said.

However, he explained, sometimes state agencies need to step in, like flooding in the Central region needs to be controlled by the Royal Irrigation Department as more than 60 per cent of the region is irrigated area.

"The flood situation in the Central region is okay and the level of floodwaters in the Northeast is dropping," he said. "We hope the floods in the East will recede if there are no more storms."

Royol, also director of the Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute, said his agency was now closely monitoring the upcoming Nari storm to see if it would have an impact on the East of Thailand. It may not affect the region if it weakens after arriving in Vietnam.


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