BANGKOK, August 21 -- The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation on Wednesday warned of flash floods and landslides in 21 provinces in the North, the Northeast, Central Plains and eastern regions until Thursday.
Of the 21 provinces listed as possible affected areas, certain districts in Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Nan, Tak, Uttaradit are particularly at risk from flash floods and landslides as a result of prolonged heavy rain, said department director-general Chayaphon Thitisak. The rain is the result of a monsoon trough in the Northern region and the impact from a southwest monsoon in the Andaman Sea and the upper Gulf of Thailand, according to the department. Emergency response teams have been put on round the clock standby in flood-prone localities in mountainous areas sucn as Nan province, according to Mr Chayaphon. Those living in low-lying areas are being advised to closely monitor weather updates throughout this period, he said.
In the South, however, rice growers in Nakhon Si Thammarat are calling on the government to declare a new drought-hit zone, with about 10,000 rai of paddy fields having been totally destroyed by drought over the past few months. Chetsada Banchongsut, their leader, said he and other rice farmers in Chalerm Prakiat district had tried to fight the drought themselves and lost about 130,000 baht pumping water into rice fields to save their crops, but the drought lasted so long that they could not cope anymore. The farmers now want the government to help by declaring their damaged rice fields a drought-hit zone so they will be entitled to compensation, he said. Sa Kaeo governor Wichit Chatphaisit said the province is assisting about 12,300 families, who own 79,950 rai of paddy fields in five tambon in Ta Phraya district which have already been damaged by drought. Two large water pumps were sent to affected areas to draw water and supply the communities, said the governor. As of Tuesday, Sa Kaeo's irrigation project had about 76.43 million cubic metres of water, which is enough to supply tap water for the entire province for the next 160 days, he said.