Isan floods tipped to ease in 2 weeks

Grass and animal feed, bestowed by His Majesty the King, is ferried to Koh Donsawan in Muang district, Sakon Nakhon to feed buffaloes stranded there after heavy flooding.‚ÄČ(Photo by Pratuan Kajornwuthinan)

The flooding crisis in the Northeast is expected to ease within the next two weeks after the implementation of a better system to divert water into the Mekong River by the Department of Royal Irrigation (DRI).

The Moon and Chi rivers merge into one in Muang district of Ubon Ratchathani province before flowing onward into the Mekong River.

Thongplew Kongchan, DRI deputy chief, said the department has managed to slow down the flow of the Moon River and release the Chi River overflow into the Mekong first.

This process will help prevent the water level rising in areas affected by flooding, he added.

A total of 16 water-pushing machines, which can handle up to 300 million cubic metres per day, have been put in place in Phibun Mangsahan district to divert water flow to the Mekong River.

The water level in the Mekong River is 3.10 metres below the bank, which is good for water drainage.

“With all the measures, we expect to increase water flow capacity by 20%. There is no rain at the time being, which is good for us. We should see the situation return to normal in the next two weeks,” he said.

There are 29 communities, and 2,719 people, currently affected by the floods in Muang district and Warin Chamrap district. The water level is above two metres in some areas of Warin Chamrap district.

In Sakon Nakhon, people living around Nong Han have kept their belongings on higher ground as they still fear a second round of flooding which could be caused by further rainfall combined with the over-capacity of the city reservoir.

In Nakhon Phanom, flooding has reportedly destroyed 200,000 rai of paddy fields across 10 districts.

In the South, people living in the vicinity of Phanom Benja mountain in Krabi have been warned over possible flooding in eight surrounding districts, while in Satun, the governor has declared Koh Lipe a natural disaster zone.

Meanwhile, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation concluded that between July 15 and Aug 14, 1.8 million people in 44 provinces were severely affected by the flooding which caused 32 deaths.

Eight provinces continue to struggle with the problem — Sakon Nakhon, Kalasin, Nakon Phanom, Roi Et, Yasothon, Ubon Ratchathani, Nong Khai and Ayutthaya.

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