Residents stranded in flash floods
Phitsanulok district declared disaster zone

Heavy rains have inundated homes in two parts of Noen Maprang in Phitsanulok, prompting 200 officials to evacuate residents. The district was later declared a disaster zone.

Some 100 rescue workers and 100 soldiers were dispatched yesterday morning to assist stranded residents in tambon Chompu and tambon Ban Moong, where waters were more than a metre high.

"This is the worst flood I've seen. The water came so fast and hard that some residents, despite warnings, could not get their belongings to higher ground in time," said resident Sakhon Kanduang, 45, adding that his 30-rai rice field was also damaged.

Kamnan Boonchu Wongniyom of tambon Chompu said despite this being the worst ever flood in the area, no casualties had been reported, although about 10,000 rai of farmland is expected to have been damaged.

Since midnight on Thursday, overflow from downpours in the Phetchabun mountains have caused water levels to rise in Klong Chompu, Klong Nam Pad and Klong Ban Moong. The floods have affected Ban Moong-Wang Yang Road and Kok Maidaeng-Noen Maprang Road, making them impassable.

Officials in a six-wheel truck and flat-bottomed boats are in the area assisting marooned residents and distributing aid. A section of Wang Thong district's Phitsanulok-Lom Sak Road also remained impassable.

Ban Sam Rang villager Thiang Srimuang and his wife had to hang on to a tree from midnight on Thursday until they were rescued at 10.30am yesterday.

Phitsanulok Governor Somboon Sripattanawat inspected tambon Chompu yesterday afternoon, before declaring Noen Maprang a disaster zone as floods had ravaged its seven tambon. He said officials would distribute food and water and deliver some 500 flood-relief bags today.

If there were no more downpours, the situation in the district should be back to normal in a couple of days, Somboon said, adding that he had instructed people at the downstream Wang Thong and Bang Krathum districts to prepare for run-offs.

In Phetchabun, depression-induced heavy downpours caused flooding in many districts. However, apart from a few residents and some monks at Wat Huai Khoy in tambon Sila, most people in Lom Kao district had made it to safe ground.

Meanwhile, severe traffic jams were caused on the Saraburi-Lom Sak Road in Muang district by the 60-centimetre-high water levels.

Meanwhile, Phichit Governor Preecha Reungchan warned residents in Muang, Sak Lek, Wang Sai Phun, Thab Khlo and Khong Charoen districts, which are located near the Phetchabun mountains, to move their belongings to higher ground as the run-off from Phitsanulok and Phetchabun was expected to hit the province later yesterday evening.

The director of the Water Resource Department's Chiang Mai Hydrology Centre, Weerawut Pornrattanaphan, warned that downpours all week had caused the Antecedent Precipitation Index (API) values in many areas to rise. If an area has an API value higher than 150 millimetres, it is deemed a landslide risk, he said, reporting that as of 7am yesterday Phetchabun's Lom Sak district measured at 116.6ml, while Muang Phetchabun stood at 143.1ml.

Khon Kaen's Thantawan news centre chief Suwit Imjai said yesterday that residents had filed about 200 complaints about road accidents and flooded roads since tropical storm Lekima hit the Northeast three days ago.

On Khon Kaen-Chiang Yeun Road alone 10 accidents had occurred during the period, killing three people and injuring 10 others.

In Loei, floods that hit Phu Luang district since midnight on Thursday had receded yesterday leaving 30 houses, 100 rai of farmland, two roads and 10 fish ponds damaged. Officials were dispatched to assess the damage so that further assistance can be provided.

Meteorological Department reported at 1am yesterday that Lekima had downgraded to a low-pressure cell over Nan, Phrae, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok and Sukhothai, and would bring rainfall in all northern and some northeastern provinces.

Heavy rains are expected in Phetchabun, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Phrae, Nan, Loei, Chaiyaphum and Nakhon Ratchasima. People have been warned of possible flash floods.

The Nation