Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang offered a public apology to Bangkok residents Thursday after they endured one of the worst days of flooding in years.
"I've tried my best and truly understand how badly the people are suffering the consequences of the floods. I apologise for this trouble with no excuses and I am willing to listen to all complaints and criticism," Pol Gen Aswin said.
He was speaking after he spent Thursday morning visiting flood-affected areas in Bangkok, following a seven-hour downpour throughout the city.
Heaviest downpour in 15 years in Sukhothai
The heaviest floods in 15 years have forced the closure of several businesses in the commercial heart of Khiri Mat district in Sukhothai.
Despite the flood, the irrigation agency has dismissed a chance of the country facing a repeat of the 2011 flood crisis.
Shops and businesses in the downtown municipality were closed as floodwaters rose rapidly on Sunday.
Met issues warning of further heavy downpours
Several northern provinces have been hit by flash floods following persistent heavy rain with the Meteorological Department warning that downpours will continue until today.
In Uttaradit, mountain run-off triggered by torrential downpours caused the Phi and Pladuk creeks in tambon Nam Phi of Thong Saen Khan district to overflow yesterday.
Floods submerged scores of villages in tambon Nam Phi with more than 200 households affected.
WRITER: ANUCHA CHAROENPO
In Hlaing Thar Yar township of Yangon, dirty water has been a problem for a long time. Local residents like Aung Soe Min have to buy drinking water from shops, resulting in a substantial financial burden.
"There is a dirty water problem here because we are living on the outskirts of the city. We pay 350 kyat (9 baht) for a bottle of drinking water," said Aung Soe Min, 33, a day labourer who was among 200 local residents who joined an event to mark World Water Day on March 22 at a local temple.
Thirteen provinces were hit by summer storms between March 31 and April 7, in which 296 houses were damaged and one people killed, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department chief Chalerm Promlert said on Sunday.
They were Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen and Loei in the Northeast; Phetchaburi, Saraburi, Samut Sakhon and Nonthaburi in the Central region; and Chiang Mai, Uttaradit, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Kamphang Phet and Phayao in the North. In these provinces, 71 villages in 22 districts were affected.
Mr Chalerm said one people was killed, but gave no details.
Refugees no more, Karen residents of new homes in southeastern Myanmar hope decades-long ethnic conflict is finally near an end.
By PATHOM SANGWONGWANICH
After decades on the run from armed conflict in their ancestral lands, Myanmar nationals with Karen heritage are finally getting a taste of peace as they settle into newly built houses in the country's southeastern region. The peace is fragile, but the return of genuine smiles suggests there is hope that it will hold this time.
WRITER: WASSANA NANUAM
PHITSANULOK - Thailand will ask nearly 70,000 refugees displaced by skirmishes in Myanmar to return home, but only on a voluntary basis. Those ready to make the trip back home will be sent only gradually, 3rd Army chief Lt Gen Vijak Siribansop said Thursday.
Nay Pyi Taw has prepared areas for them and current peace talks with armed ethnic groups in Myanmar look promising, he said.
By Shamshad Akhtar
This month's floods are a worrisome reminder of the increasing uncertainty of extreme weather events. Thailand's flood season usually ends in November, but this year, influenced by a low depression area and a strong northeast monsoon, widespread flooding in the south of the country has killed more than 90 people, affected over 330,000 households, and resulted in widespread asset losses.
The flood death toll in the South reached 91 yesterday. Four people remain missing, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM).
The deaths and missing persons were reported across 12 provinces, said Chatchai Promlert, DDPM director-general. These areas have been plagued by flooding since Dec 1 until Friday.
WRITER: SUPAPONG CHAOLAN
SURAT THANI: A total of 12 houses heavily damaged by recent floods will be moved to new locations to ensure that they will no longer block drainage routes if future flooding occurs.
Surat Thani governor Uaychai Innak said on Saturday that 51 houses had been destroyed by the floods while another 768 were partially damaged. Authorities and volunteers in the province have already helped residents to repair around 60 units.
WRITER: SUPAPONG CHAOLAN
The flood situation in some southern provinces remained critical yesterday as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visited flood-affected areas and vowed to improve the way the country deals with natural disasters.
The situation in Trang province, in particular, was still causing concern with more areas being inundated and a higher volume of flooding continuing to come from the upper part of the region, local officials said.
Governor to pitch water retention areas
A Surat Thani governor will propose a project to build water retention areas in the province as a long-term measure against flooding.
Governor Auychai Inthanak yesterday said proposals for a water retention scheme, based on the kaem ling or monkey's cheek concept pioneered by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, would be raised during a visit by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to the province tomorrow.
WRITER: WAEDAO HARAI
NARATHIWAT -- Floodwater has begun to recede, leaving only low-lying areas still inundated, in this southern border province.
As of Tuesday morning, rain continued to fall in mountainous areas in Waeng, Tak Bai, Sukhirin, Chanae and Si Sakhon district. The water level in the Sai Buri and Sungai Kolok rivers had stopped rising.
Eighty-five people are confirmed killed and four are still missing in the flooding that has hit Prachuap Khiri Khan and 11 southern provinces since Dec 1, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department director-general Chatchai Promlert said on Monday.
The flood situation has eased in Ranong, Krabi, Trang, Chumphon and Prachuap Khiri Khanbut was still prevalent in parts of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, Phatthalung, Yala, Songkhla, Pattani and Narathiwat.
NARATHIWAT -- All 13 districts of this southern border province have been declared disaster areas after several days of heavy rain caused widespread flooding.
The declaration was made late Sunday night by governor Sithichai Sakda to mobilise all resources to help flood-hit people.
Further rain across the province overnight caused the floodwater to increase rapidly in 470 villages of 74 tambons in 13 districts, affecting 145,686 people in 36,605 households.
Persistent rain throughout Friday caused flooding to several districts of the southern provinces of Songkhla, Narathiwat Pattani, Trang and Yala early Saturday.
Flooded were many roads in Songkhla municipality, including Kanchanawanit Road. Travel became difficult for small vehicles.
The ground floors of several buildings, including the parking lot of a Tesco Lotus store in the municipality, were inundated. Local authorities were operating all available water pumps to speed up drainage into the Songkhla lake.
The southern provinces, which have been recovering from serious flooding, are now bracing for more floods as a new cold front makes its way from China bringing heavy rain.
The Meteorological Department issued a forecast on Friday saying that high pressure from China is expected in Laos, Vietnam and the South China Sea and was forecast to reach the Northeast of Thailand last night.
The high pressure is predicted to trigger an even stronger northeast monsoon across the Gulf of Thailand and the South, said the forecast.
Residents in Chumphon, Ranong and Nakhon Si Thammarat are being warned of heavy rainfall, flash floods and mudslides over the next few days. National Disaster Warning Centre issued a warning Wednesday about bad weather in the three southern provinces.
The centre has warned locals in Chumphon's Phato and Thung Tako districts, Kra Buri and La-un districts in Ranong and Phrommakhiri, Nop Phi Tham and Lan Saka districts in Nakhon Si Thammarat about possible flash floods and mudslides following heavy downpours in their communities.
Floodway construction is required to limit the impact of immense flooding and economic losses for people living in the southern provinces, and city planning should be adjusted to better enable disaster responses, says the Engineering Institute of Thailand (EIT).
Thanes Weerasiri, chairman of the EIT, said the flood crisis hitting the southern provinces is an important lesson on flood disaster management, which requires infrastructure development to reduce impacts.
Nation donates B329m in relief for victims
People in southern provinces and local authorities are bracing for a new round of floods after more heavy rain was forecast in the region this week.
Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Sunday that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered provincial governors and local administrative agencies to beef up precautionary measures against flooding as heavy rainfall is expected in the South, according to the Thai Meteorological Department.