King's move helps save capital
Ayutthaya holdings absorb inundation to keep Bangkok back from breaking point
His Majesty the King yesterday granted permission for the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) to divert water from the Chao Phya River basin to his land in Ayutthaya to help absorb the deluge before it flooded Bangkok.
Following His Majesty's initiative, residents of nearby areas agreed to allow the RID to divert a huge volume of water on to their own farmland to reduce the possibility of severe flooding in the capital.
His Majesty has 2,000 rai of land in Thung Makham Yong, Thung Phu Khao Thong and Muang district's Tambon Ban Mai. By last night, 300,000 cubic metres of water had been diverted to his land and that belonging to residents.
Thung Makham Yong and Thung Phu Khao Thong were presented to His Majesty by the original landlords and he once harvested rice paddies from the experimental rice field at Thung Phu Khao Thong.
RID director-general Samart Chokanapitak said residents of Thung Sena in Sena district let the department divert water to their 100,000 rai of land, which should contain 20-30 million cubic metres of water.
He said Bangkok would survive the critical period and the water level would not exceed 2.40 metres from sea level, as high tides would reach their peak in the next few days.
Ayutthaya Governor Somchai Chumrat said the province would compensate landowners for actual damage instead of the announced criteria of Bt250 per rai for farmland flooded earlier in Thung Bang Ban.
The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department reported yesterday the floods had affected 46 provinces and 2,025,046 residents, causing 39 deaths.
Meanwhile, the Royal Thai Army (RTA) has assigned military teams to help in anti-flooding missions in their respective areas.
"We have issued a policy on disaster mitigation. We should be able to comprehensively assist in all flooded areas," RTA commander-in-chief and Council for National Security leader General Sonthi Boonyaratglin said yesterday.
He urged provincial authorities to contact the RTA for assistance. "We are your tools. We are ready to work to relieve people's suffering," he said, adding that all necessary equipment, supplies, staff, vehicles, boats and helicopters were ready to reach areas in need.
The water volume of Tak's Bhumibol Dam and Uttaradit's Sirikit Dam yesterday reached 98 per cent of their capacities. The former released water at 342 cubic metres per second while Sirikit Dam did not release any.
Lop Buri's Pasak Cholasit Dam contained water at 1,019 cubic metres, or 106 per cent of its net capacity, and released water at 700 cubic metres per second. The water volume passing through the Chao Phya River at Nakhon Sawan was 4,565 cubic metres per second and through Chao Phya Dam in Chai Nat at 2,901 cubic metres per second. The water reached Bangkok at 3,465 cubic metres per second.
The Department of Mineral Resources yesterday issued a warning of possible landslides and flash floods to residents of mountainous areas and valleys in Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Uttaradit, Nan, Phetchabun, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani and nearby provinces.
In Angthong, the abbot of Wat Bot Woradit in Pa Moke district urged people to deliver food to the temple's 480 orphans, who were living on instant noodles and canned fish that were running low.
Muang resident Piya Wipa, 19, became the fifth person in Angthong to die as a result of flooding.
Water overflowing the Noi River threatened to damage the 400-year-old reclining Buddha image in Pho Thong district. Officials used sandbags in a bid to protect the image.
Following the Klong Bang Kaew Dam burst on Monday, water now covers a 100-metre stretch of the Asia Highway in Muang district and has inundated vast rice fields in Angthong's Chaiyo district and Ayutthaya's Maha Rat district.