Bangkok and other areas of central Thailand have received new warnings of possible major floods, although authorities said the threat was easing in 13 of the country’s 30 provinces that had been hit by seasonal monsoon rains.
Seven people have died and two others have been missing since Sunday from flooding caused by Tropical Storm ‘Dianmu’, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said on Wednesday.
He reported that 197,795 households in 30 provinces, mostly in the northern, northeastern and central regions were affected — a 56 per cent increase over the 126,781 reported the day before. Heavy rains are still forecast in many areas.
Massive amounts of water flowing from Chao Phraya from the north have drowned dams and reservoirs. Flood warnings have been issued in Bangkok and the provinces of Lopburi, Saraburi, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi.
Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang admitted on his Facebook page on Wednesday that because the capital is on low ground, it is vulnerable to flooding. Parts of the city were hit by a major flood in 2011, fed mainly by water released from reservoirs in the north.
The governor listed the measures the city is taking to cope with the floods, including the preparation of water pumps connected to a large drainage tunnel.
While large dams and reservoirs in the north have so far been able to withstand this year’s rainfall, others closer to Bangkok have exceeded their capacity this month and have had to discharge water.
The latest flood warnings follow decisions to increase water discharge from the Chao Phraya Dam, 190 km (120 miles) north of Bangkok and the Pasak Jolasid Dam, about 100 km (60 miles) north of the capital.
Another crisis point is in the northeast, where thousands of people have been displaced by floods.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visited Chaiyaphum on Wednesday, another heavily hit northeastern province, where he offered aid packages.
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