Heavy Rains Continue to Flood Areas of Northern Thailand
CHIANG RAI – The Meteorological Department has forecast heavy rain until Sunday in most areas in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Phayao, Phrae, Nan, Tak, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Khampaeng Phet and Phichit.
Operators of boat trips to a village housing long-necked Karen women have temporarily suspended service because of flood-related safety concerns.
Ampon Unjai, who supervises the Mae Hong Son Boat Cooperative, said on Saturday that trips were cancelled until further notice because rapid currents in the Pai River which could pose a danger to tourists.
The water level in the river rose sharply on Friday after flash floods in mountainous areas upstream in the northern province.
The cooperative runs the boat service from Mae Hong Son town to Huay Pu Keng, a village famous for the long-necked Karen of the Paduang hilltribe, and to Ban Nam Pieng Din near the border with Myanmar.
Heavy rains pounded the province on Friday night and flash floods damaged farmland in Pai, Pang Mapha and Muang districts.
The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said on Saturday that the rains had stopped and conditions should return to normal by Sunday.
In Phayao Nopparit Sirikosol, chief of Chiang Kham district, said heavy downpours in the Mae Lao watershed area in the northern province had triggered the runoff that tore apart the bridge pilings at Khanaeng village in tambon Mae Lao.
More than 300 residents were left stranded in the village as the bridge was their only access to the outwide world, said Mr Nopparit.
Soldiers arrived on Saturday to build a temporary wooden bridge. Heavy equipment will be brought in later to repair the bridge.
The district chief said he had already reported the damage to provincial authorities and asked them to declare the village a natural disaster zone.
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