Thai flood projects 'must cover communities'

Thai flood projects 'must cover communities'

THAILAND - Flood-prevention work is under way at several industrial estates at risk of inundation, but nearby communities where many estate employees reside should also be protected, Federation of Thai Industries chairman Payungsak Chartsutipol said yesterday.

He said industries in the estates would be affected if residential areas around them were flooded, as employees would be unable to report for work.

Payungsak called on authorities - provincial and central - to provide emergency assistance to flood-affected victims, as he said customers and employees, who were among the victims, were key players in the businesses.

The private sector has been worried about long-term water and flood management, as little progress had been made. The government has floated many ideas but nothing concrete has been achieved.

Meanwhile, downpours will continue in many flood-hit provinces this weekend, according to the Meteorological Department.

The department forecast heavy rain in Phichit, Phetchabun, Roi Et, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Surin, Si Sa Ket, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Sa Kaew, Chanthaburi and Trat.

Several of these provinces have already been struggling with severe inundation.

Flood-water levels at an old market in Prachin Buri's Kabin Buri district soared above 2 metres yesterday. Locals could move around only in boats. At Kabin Buri Prison, flood water was about a metre deep, forcing the evacuation of about 300 inmates.

In Uthai Thani, flooding ravaged more than 5,000 rai of paddy fields. Flood waters were 1-2 metres deep.

According to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, floods hit 29 provinces this month. The situation has returned to normal in only five provinces. Apart from property damage, the disaster has claimed 13 lives.

The Meteorological Department yesterday said a tropical depression was heading towards Vietnam and its impact would be felt in Thailand on Monday and Tuesday.

"This depression is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm," it added.

The weather bureau said that once it reached Vietnam, Thailand's Northeastern region would face significant impact.

In the northern province of Phitsanulok, a section of a road running along the bank of the Nan River collapsed after heavy rain on Thursday night.

The affected section was more than 100 metres long and also brought down trees and power poles.

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