Don’t tell the folks in Ayutthaya, Phichit, Phetchabun or Pattaya, for that matter, but Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says there was no concern about flooding this year.
The premier’s dumbfounding comments came the same day as the Noi River in Ayutthaya overflowed, inundating Sena and Phak Hai districts and the Royal Irrigation Department scrambled to increase discharges from the Chao Phraya Dam into the Chao Phraya River.
Writing on his Facebook page, Prayut said he visited the dam in Chai Nat Province the day before to observe water flows from the North. He said that while two big recent big storms caused flooding in some areas, overall water levels remained stable in general and that flooding wouldn’t be as severe as in 2011, when much of the country was under water.
The former general turned weatherman’s comments will be no solace for residents of Phichit Province’s Koh Salika village in Sam Ngam District who had to move their belongings to local roads as the Yom River also overflowed into their houses due to persistent rains over the past week and incoming water from Phitsanulok.
Nor will Prayut’s tone-deaf tweeting console for those living in Phetchabun’s Lom Kao District, which was hit by the worst flooding in a century last week.
Rains that fell for days combined with runoff from nearby mountains in Dan Sai District of Loei Province. Roads became impassible and residents were stranded.
In all, about 260 houses were damaged. Vehicles were washed away and almost fell into the Pasak River. Villagers lost their household items and farming tools.
While in Chai Nat this week, Prayut met Chao Phraya Dam officials and those responsible for irrigation in the river’s basin. He saw how Chai Nat is receiving faster inflows of water from the Chao Phraya River.
The premier ordered concerned organizations to prepare the evacuation of flood victims and keep eople informed of possible impacts and plan other assistance.
But there’s nothing to worry about, he says now.
Meanwhile, the Irrigation Department began discharge 1,400 cu. meters of water per second from the dam.
Thursday morning the Noi River, which is a tributary of the Chao Phraya, overflowed into riverside communities and floodwater reached Sena and Phak Hai. The level of the Chao Phraya River also rose and would first affect Bang Ban District.
The Thailand News Agency contributed reporting to this story.