Si Sa Ket swamped as Chi River overflows

Overflow from the Chi River has left 2,000 rai of farmland under water in Yang Chum Noi district of Si Sa Ket as of Saturday. (Photo by Sanoh Worarak)

Water overflowing from the Chi River inundated more than 2,000 rai of farmland in Yang Chum Noi district of Si Sa Ket province on Saturday, as flooding persisted across parts of the Northeast.

The river burst its banks and water flowed across paddy fields after absorbing huge volumes of floodwater from Roi Et and Yasothon. Si Sa Ket provincial authorities warned residents of riverside communities to brace themselves for flooding and closely monitor weather forecasts.

Suporn Theerarotchalee, chief of Yang Chum Noi district, said more than 20,000 rai of farmland in the district had been flooded following days of heavy rain.

In Ubon Ratchathani, officials from Irrigation Office 7 on Saturday put up red flags along the Moon River to warn residents to be on alert for overflows.

Paithoon Chaiyaphumsakul, deputy director of the office, said the level of Moon River had risen 13 centimetres from Friday, with a heavy flow rate of 2,642 cubic metres per second.

As the water kept rising, officials put up red flags along a bridge to warn nearby residents to move their belongings to higher ground, said Mr Paithoon. The river has already overflowed into communities in Warin Chamrap district.

In Sakon Nakhon, the province hardest hit by floods that began two weeks ago, the recovery was continuing in 18 districts. However, several areas remained flooded and impassable for vehicles.

In the municipal area of Muang district, residents have begun cleaning up their houses after floodwater subsided in most areas. But communities near Nong Han Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the Northeast, remained submerged as water reached the lake’s holding capacity. Many properties are still under 50-60cm of water.

Niphon Mangkornkaew, director of the Sakon Nakhon irrigation project, said the water level in the lake had fallen by about 10cm over the past day. About 25 million cu/m of water had flowed into the lake, lifting its estimated total to 302 million cu/m, with a discharge rate around 30 million cu/m a day.

Pumps have been deployed to speed up drainage in municipal areas, which should return to normal in one or two days if there is no more rain, said Mr Niphon.

Some flooded-affected areas covering 36,700 rai along the Nam Kam River would improve in seven to 10 days, he added.

Heavy rains since early last month have caused flooding in 44 provinces, resulting in 27 deaths and 1.5 million people affected, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM). As of Friday, flooding had subsided in 34 provinces. 

The Interior Ministry said that about 4.4 million rai of land, most of it rice fields, had been affected, and insurers have estimated damages so far at close to 10 billion baht.

A farmer wades though paddy fields in Yang Chum Noi district of Si Sa ket. (Photo by Sanoh Worarak) 

Flat-bottomed boats are deployed to provide relief items to flood victims in hard-hit Sakon Nakhon. (Photo by Pratuan Kajonvuttinun)

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