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Year-End Floods to Hit South, Drought in Far North

Thailand’s DDPM carry out flood rescue and relief operations in Chumphon, January 2017. (Photo: DDPM)
Thailand’s DDPM carry out flood rescue and relief operations in Chumphon, January 2017. (Photo: DDPM)

Thailand’s South is bracing for severe flooding predicted to hit the region next month even as the North faces drought.

Office of National Water Resources Secretary-General Somkiat Prajamwong said Wednesday that the National Water Command concluded that this year’s storms dumped torrential rain downstream from dams, leaving reservoirs lower than normal at this time of year.

The ONWR ordered the Department of Water Resources and the Department of Groundwater Resources to survey possible sites to construct groundwater wells to help mitigate the expected drought crisis.

Some upper northeastern provinces are now sharing the same prospects, with reservoirs such as the ones at Nam Un Dam in Sakon Nakhon, Huai Luang Dam in Udon Thani, and Lam Pao Dam in Kalasin, now holding less than 50 percent of their water capacity.

In Khon Kaen, however, water levels in reservoirs there are higher than before, much the same as other provinces in the lower northeastern region and the central region. Given this situation, the ONWR is expecting the upcoming drought not to last long.

In the southern region, the ONWR has warned provinces to prepare for floods starting at the end of November that will continue until the end of December due to expected heavy rain.

The office has ordered local agencies to prepare their staff and equipment, and to stay on alert in order to mitigate damage faced by the general public.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has urged all agencies to accelerate their plans to cope with drought, especially in the upper northern region, the upper northeastern region, and the central region, in an effort to limit the severity of the disaster.