(UPDATE) A total of 24 provinces in Thailand are currently flooded, and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is scheduled to visit four of them this weekend, according to Thai media reports.
On Saturday morning Ms. Yingluck will visit Pathum Thani, and on Sunday she will visit Prachin Buri, Si Sa Ket, and Ubon Ratchathani, said a government spokesman.
The 24 provinces currently under water are Surin, Si Sa Ket, Ubon Ratchathani, Buri Ram, Amnat Charoen, Chaiyaphum, Yasothon, Mukdahan, Phitsanulok, Phichit, Kamphaeng Phet, Phetchabun, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Chainat, Prachin Buri, Sa Kaew, Nakhon Nayok, Chachoengsao, Ayutthaya, Angthong and Suphan Buri.
To make matters worse, a tropical depression is approaching from Vietnam, which will likely affect several provinces in Thailand’s Northeast and Eastern regions. The provinces most vulnerable are Ubon Ratchatani, Si Sa Ket, Surin, and Prachin Buri, all of which have already been severely hit by floods, said the Royal Irrigation Department.
More than 2.1 million people have affected by the floods this month, and over 1.14 million rai of farmland has been ravaged.
The floodwater has damaged 2,310 roads, 6,900 houses, and 145 bridges, according to Chatchai Phromlert, director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.
Many of the 24 provinces are heavily flooded, with some of the worst hit spots in Chaiyaphum under 2.8 meters of water, and in Buri Ram with some areas in Krasang district under three meters of floodwater.
Officials are making desperate efforts to get relief items to the worst hit areas, and have dispatched over 1,500 boats to reach the victims, say reports.
In Sa Kaeo, Wednesday night’s torrential rainfall caused a massive run-off into Prachin Buri’s Kabin Buri district, leaving it under four meters of water.
Local residents are enraged, and have complained that the cause of the flooding is that the sluice gates remain shut to protect other areas downstream.
They have demanded the authorities deal with the problem, and have begun to take matters into their own hands.
Thursday they blockaded a road in Kabin Buri municipality, and have threatened to dig up a road along the irrigation waterway to discharge the floodwater from the area.
Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi continued to insist Thursday that this year’s flooding would not be as critical as it was in 2011 because there was still 12,300 million cu/m of capacity in reservoirs. Image/nationmultimedia.com