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Mae Sot vendors evacuated in heavy rains

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Mae Sot (Mizzima) – Vendors in Tak's Mae Sot District were forced to suspend business late last week when the Moei River burst its banks following days of heavy rain.

About 100 border patrol police and rescuers responded to the scene to help evacuate vendors from the flooding, which was about 50 centimetres deep on Friday.

About 300 shops operate along the bank of the river, which demarcates the border between Thailand and Myanmar.

A rescue centre was set up to help affected residents in the Tambon Thasailuad area.

The floods also reached downtown Mae Sot after water overflowed the spillway of a reservoir. Police had to divert vehicles from Rachakarn Rassadorn Damri 2 and roads around the Mae Sot District office, which were under 70 cm of water.

Mae Sot Municipality has been declared an emergency zone following torrential rains over the past month, which has caused nearby reservoirs and rivers to overflow.

Water in Mae Sot Reservoir overflowed on to the spillway and increased the level of water in creeks, triggering floods in the municipality.

Meanwhile, Tassanai Buranapakorn, the mayor of Chiang Mai Municipality, has inspected 10 flood barriers along the Mae Ping River after heavy rain in the area over the past two weeks.

Last year, more than 800 cubic metres of water per second flowed through Chiang Mai Municipality and the capacity of the Mae Ping River was able to handle only 500 cubic metres of water per second.

The authorities could not increase the river's capacity due to construction blocking the flow. There were also no water retention areas in the municipality.

“We hope that these 10 barriers will prevent Chiang Mai City from flooding this year,” Tassanai said.

However, he said the Pa Prao Nok community is at risk of flooding because it is located in a low-lying area. He said the municipality could not finish barrier construction in time for this year's rainy season, but it is building a temporary dyke and has installed water pumps to drain water from the area.