By THE NATION
THE Loei River burst its banks in the northeastern province on Thursday night, inundating communities in Muang district. About 1,000 families were affected and 10 schools closed.
Overflow from the river flooded the Ban Tiew community near the fresh market in Muang municipality, as well as Talad Muang Mai, Kok Moongchie and Ban Mai communities.
Residents of the communities had to rush to get their valuables to higher ground.
The water level was over a metre high.
Kood Pong Park, the Loei Stadium and main roads were inundated. The bridge linking Ban Tiew community to residents across the river was also damaged.
Provincial administrators said heavy downpours had continued since Tuesday evening. The local meteorological office said it was the heaviest rainfall the province had seen in 85 years. Meanwhile, overnight rain in Chiang Mai province caused flooding in Muang district early yesterday, prompting four schools to close for a day.
The schools – Montfort College, Regina Coeli College, Sacred Heart School and Vachirawit School – are located on Charoen Prathet Road.
The Prince Royal’s School continued classes yesterday although Nawarat Road was also flooded.
Several main roads were declared off limits after they were inundated with water up to 50 centimetres deep. The Nimmanhemin Road was under 30cm of water. The road around the Khu Muang canal and the road to Wing 41 were also flooded.
The Sri Ping Muang and Kard Kom communities, which are the lowest areas in downtown Chiang Mai, were flooded with the water level varying from half a metre to over one metre.
The flood-affected areas also included a road in front of Chiang Mai Airport, Chang Klan, Charoen Prathet and Sri Ping Muang roads.
Provincial governor Pawin Chamniprasat instructed the Chiang Mai Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office, the Chiang Mai Municipality and other agencies to inspect flood-ravaged areas, provide needed assistance and keep traffic moving.
Pawin said he asked the Chiang Mai-based Regional Irrigation Office 1 to install pumps in affected areas to discharge floodwater into the Ping River.
The residents of the communities said the flash floods happened very quickly at around 2am.
The Royal Irrigation Department (RID) has stepped up flood-prevention measures in disaster-prone provinces, in response to forecasts of heavy rains across the country.
In the North, thundershowers will affect the provinces of Phayao, Phrae, Nan, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok and Phetchabun. In the Northeast, rainstorms are also heading towards Loei, Nong Bua Lamphu, Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Kalasin, Roi Et and Maha Sarakham.
In the East, downpours have been forecast in the provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat which were also warned of dangers associated with cumulative rainfall over a few days. In the Central Plains, heavy rains are heading towards Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Saraburi and Lop Buri.
RID deputy head Thongplew Kongjun said the department had instructed its local branches to closely monitor the situation and prepare water pumps and other equipment for flood-relief operations, as heavy rain in the upper country might cause flash floods.
Thongplew said aside from managing water supplies, disaster prevention was part of the RID’s duties. The department also cooperates with other agencies on natural resource |management.
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