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Thailand Live Sunday 23 Oct 2011

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Thailand Live Sunday 23 October 2011

News, Bits and Tweets

with webfact

Keep up to date with live updates from the news, hour by hour.

For breaking news,national, regional and international news updates on a daily basis only, this thread is closed to commentary so that those who wish to follow the news can find it here...

Commentary is still open for Thailand news in the relevant thread posted in News Clippings.

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Related topic: Thailand Live Saturday 22 Oct 2011

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About 2.5m people hit by floods in 28 provinces

The Nation on Sunday

The ongoing flood disaster has ravaged 175 districts as of now in 28 provinces, affecting 2.45 million people, and the death toll stood at 356 deaths with two persons missing, the National Flood Relief Centre at Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport reported yesterday.

Seventy-seven rural highways in 15 provinces were damaged while 18 Northern Route train services were suspended. Northeastern Route trains bound for Bangkok continued to use the Bangkok-Makkasan-Chachoengsao route without going through Samsen, Bang Sue or Don Muang stations, they said.

The Royal Thai Navy reported that there would be high tides 2.30-2.35 metres above mean sea level from October 27-31.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-23

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Kalasin faced with serious situation as wall gives way

The Nation on Sunday

The situation in the northeastern province of Kalasin remained critical as flood barriers along Chi River gave way, letting in water and leading to the subsequent evacuation of 2,000 families in Kamalasai and Khong Chai districts.

Several sections of the flood barriers along Chi River running through Yang Talad, Khong Chai and Kamalasai districts were ruptured, especially Kamalasai that saw six 100-metre-long sections breached. So far, about 400 soldiers plus 500 officials and volunteers have managed to repair three of them while they were deterred by the strong torrents at the other three locations. The flood water poured into 2,000 homes in Tambon Chao Than, Thanya, Dong Ling in Kamalasai district and Tambon Lam Chi in Khong Chai district.

Kalasin Governor Wiroj Jiwarangsan ordered emergency evacuation while some 100,000 rai of farmlands were inundated. The main road from Kamalasai to Roi Et became impassable with flood waters almost a metre deep. Warnings were issued that if officials couldn't fix the floodwall, the rest of Khong Chai and Kamalasai districts would be submerged in four weeks.

Wiroj said the barrier bust was due to the Ubolrat Dam releasing 40-50 million cubic metres of water per day in the past 10 days. He said the province's 38km-long flood barrier along Chi River had withstood flood waters last year but this year it couldn't, so he had set up foundation pillars and metal sheet piles to strengthen it hence the problem should be solved in 5-7 days.

In Buri Ram, Mul River continued to rise and yesterday caused Chi River to flood thousands of rai of rice fields and houses of 10 villages in Sateuk and Krasang districts. Two villages were marooned as main roads were under water more than a metre high.

In Nakhon Ratchasima's Pimai district, Mul riverside homes were hit by 70cm-deep flood while Suranaree University of Technology in Muang district sent 80 flat-bottomed boats to assist flood victims in the Central provinces

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-- The Nation 2011-10-23

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Mobile units treat over 720,000 people

The Nation on Sunday

Public Health Minister Wittaya Buranasiri yesterday said 200 medical mobile units were dispatched per day and so far they had treated a total of 720,128 patients who fell ill due to the flooding condition, mostly from Hong Kong Foot.

Of the flood victims in 37 provinces, 97,520 people suffered from stress - 4,202 of them were highly stressed and 5,882 were depressed and 807 were deemed at risk of suicide, he said.

Wittaya said two medical units were added in Nonthaburi; one at the Bang Plu intersection in Bang Bua Thong district with five beds, four doctors and eight nurses and the other of about the same size at Bang Yai district.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-23

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Powers and limitations of Disaster Act

The Nation

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Act of 2007 is the key law empowering Interior Ministry's Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation and provincial administrations to tackle natural calamities.

In past cases of disaster, provincial governors were the main enforcers of the law.

Under extreme circumstances, Article 31 prescribes for the prime minister to intervene and override local governments, including the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, to mitigate the disaster.

By issuing a disaster warning for the capital, the central government aims to take control of the city's sluice gates to coordinate flood control and drain run-off into the sea via eastern Bangkok.

The act has a more limited mandate than the emergency decree. The disaster provisions apply mainly to civilian officials and the prime minister is obligated to issue a separate order to involve the military in flood control.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-23

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Chiang Mai horticulture exhibition postponed

The Nation on Sunday

The International Horticultural Exposition Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2011 organising committee has agreed to postpone the fair and will now be held in Chiang Mai from December 14, 2011 to March 14, 2012 (92 days) due to the ongoing flood crisis.

The event was originally due to begin on November 9 but was later rescheduled to start on December 16. But the Agriculture Department yesterday morning notified Royal Park Rajapruek director Thassanee Srimongkol the new date. The fair had to postponed because of the worrying flood situation in the country, she said.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-23

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Thammasat Rangsit campus flooded as dyke breached

The Nation on Sunday

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Pathum Thani's Thammasat University Rangsit Campus was flooded after the earthen dyke in front of the nearby Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) was breached early yesterday. However, there has been no evacuation of 3,800 flood victims from the university's Gymnasium 1 yet.

AIT was hit by two-metre-deep floods, which also spilled over to the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and caused a 20cm-deep flood at Yungthong and Talad Wicha roads and Thammasat Primary School. Officials used off-road trucks to evacuate residents in the athletics dormitories to safer ground. Some 340 soldiers were repairing the busted floodwalls of AIT and NSTDA and should be able to control the floods, although they would have to be on watch around the clock for any more cracks. GMC trucks and flat-bottomed boats are ready to help with evacuation if necessary.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-23

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Situation improving in Nakhon Sawan City

The Nation on Sunday

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Nakhon Sawan City Mayor Jittakasem Nirojthanarat yesterday reported that flood waters in the municipality had lowered by 1.2 metres and expected them to recede completely by October 26, but the amount of garbage had doubled from the usual 140 tonnes per day.

He said some parts of Sawanvithi, Romchat and Kosi roads were now passable for small vehicles. Many people had started to return home while some 700 water pumps were in place to drain water out of the city area. He warned residents that water level beyond the floodwalls was one metre higher than inside, hence they shouldn't yet tear down floodwalls or bring their belongings down. Jittakasem also instructed officials to distribute EM (effective micro-organisms) balls to tackle polluted flood water.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-23

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Flood Prevention to Deal with Another Round of High Tides

The Government has prepared flood prevention plans to cope with another round of high tides, which is likely to take place between 28 and 30 October 2011.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said that the Royal Irrigation Department had worked out the plans, which involve water drainage, floodgate control, and the closure of certain dams to slow down water flow.

She believed that these plans would be able to control the impact of high tides during the period. Fortunately, water levels in several flood-hit provinces have begun to recede. The Government earlier issued an announcement to consolidate power on flood control under the 2007 Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Act in order to deal effectively with the current flooding situation. A joint committee, comprising the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Royal Irrigation Department, has also been set up to manage water drainage more efficiently.

The Prime Minister said that run-off from the North would pass through Bangkok and that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration had opened all sluice gates in order to drain water to the sea as soon as possible. She urged Bangkok residents to move valuable and electrical items to higher ground to avoid possible flooding.

Since the flooding situation might persist for four to six weeks in many areas of the country, the Government has prepared several plans to improve the living conditions in various evacuation centers. The plans include occupational training and lesson teaching, aimed at generating employment for the affected people after flood water recedes.

The Government has arranged altogether 1,743 evacuation centers nationwide which can accommodate more than 800,000 people. About 113,000 affected people have so far stayed at these centers. In Bangkok, 158 schools in 24 districts have been designated temporary shelters.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance has set aside 50 billion baht to assist flood-hit small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) operators. Commercial banks will extend loans under this program, while the Small Business Credit Guarantee Corporation will guarantee not less than 30 percent of the amount of a loan.

Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department

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