Navy ready for emergency in South

Navy ready for emergency in South
Peak tides tested Bangkok’s flood defences on 30 October 2011.

Amid warnings of heavy rainfall, strong winds and high tides until Monday in lower Southern Thailand, the Royal Thai Navy has dispatched HTMS Sukhothai and HTMS Surin ships along with two aircraft and 28 navy SEAL officers to be on hand for any emergency.

The Navy's hotline 1696 was also open around the clock for people to call for help, Navy commander-in-chief Adm Kraisorn Chansuvanich said yesterday.

As the region, especially from Chumphon downwards, would be affected by a strong depression, local residents were told to be on alert for floods and landslides. Small boats were to stay ashore, large vessels were to exercise caution when sailing during this time as waves up to four metres high were expected.

Army spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree said that Deputy Defence Minister General Udomdech Sitabutr, as the Army chief, had instructed all units - especially Army Region 4 - to prepare manpower and mitigation tools for an emergency.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry ordered the 16 southern provincial governors to monitor the situation closely and prepare supplies accordingly, while Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department chief Chatchai Phromlert urged officials to prepare manpower and tools, including trucks and boats, in case of emergency and evacuation.

"The Southern rainy season will go on until January and some provinces might suffer 3-4 flood rounds - like Surat Thani that had already been flooded three times this year - so we have to be cautious and monitor the situation closely. We cannot stop the force of nature but we can assist the affected residents to mitigate their suffering," he added.

In Narathiwat province, Their Majesties the King and Queen have instructed Thaksin Ratchaniwet Palace director Lt-Colonel Wichai Chaimongkol to prepare 3,000 relief bags for distribution to flood-affected people.

In Nakhon Si Thammarat, the massive seawater inflows had caused flooding in the business area of Pak Phanang district, prompting merchants to pile up sandbags amid heavy rains yesterday, in order to protect their shops. Many Pak Phanang beachside restaurants were also closed due to the stormy weather. In Lan Saka district, local residents in Tambon Khao Kaew expressed concerns of landslides as the rains continued.

Southern (East Coast) Weather Centre director Phayao Muang-ngam yesterday reported that Pattani's Muang district had recorded the highest rainfall, of 214 millimetres, followed by Nong Chik district at 140 millimetres. As for Songkhla's Hat Yai district, the amount of rainfall was not worrisome at only 40 millimetres, but she suggested that officials monitor the situation for one more night.

Hat Yai Municipality Mayor Rungroj Kuapanich said the area had seen many floods so they were on alert and already started flood-tackling measures. The residents had been informed hence there was no panic.


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