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Storm Set to Worsen for Northern Thailand

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A nine-month-old and his sibling aged two, are thought to have drowned when a flash flood hit the mountainous Fang district in northern Chiang Mai province late Friday


In the two provinces of Chiang Rai and Chiang Saen Golden Triangle region, seven districts have been submerged to 1 meter. Disaster agency said Thailand floods on four rivers that affect the lives of 1.5 million people and damaging hundreds of millions of baht. Prime Minister Shinawatra arrived Yingluck province in northeastern Ubon Rachathani to distribute relief items to people living along the Mekong River flood plain.

In Laos, Vientiane Times reported that at least five people were killed by floods in the Mekong River and its branches Sedon. Particularly in Champasak province, 470 families have relocated to avoid flood. More than 20,000 and about 200 ha of rice crops were damaged. People in lower Vientiane has recommended moving cattle to higher ground.

Satellite image of tropical storm "Haitang". Image: Thai Meteorological Department

In Cambodia, Phnom Penh Post reported that heavy rains caused water levels on the Mekong River to overflow their banks flooded 37 villages with 5,000 houses. Rice and cassava farmers affected. Flooding forced residents to evacuate Kompong Cham province. At least six people drowned in the provinces of Kompong Cham and Kratie.

The flood that has killed at least 166 people in northern Thailand is set to be worsened by tropical storm Haitang, Thai Meteorological Department said late Tuesday.

The storm is expected to reach the northeastern provinces of Mukdahan and Amnat Charoen, bringing torrential rains and strong wind to most parts of north Thailand, according to a warning posted on the deparment’s official website.

About 38 provinces in northern Thailand are likely to have flash floods in the next two days. Waves of two to four meters high are expected in the Andaman Sea and the upper Gulf of Thailand. All ships should proceed with caution and small boats must keep ashore from Sept. 27 to 29, it added.

Continuing downpours are diminishing government flood control efforts. The country’s Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department upped flood death toll from last Thursday’s 136 to 166 Tuesday noon. But it gave no details about the additional 30 deaths.

In addition, the Royal Irrigation Department said it is planning to release water from the Pasak Jolasid Dam in north Thailand. The amount of water held by the dam is 30 percent more than its capacity.

Level of the flooding Pasak River in Saraburi and Ayutthaya will rise further when the dam releases water.

As part of Thailand’s recent flood relief efforts, the cabinet decided on Tuesday to allocate 7.2 billion baht (211 million U.S. dollars) to compensate farmers whose crops were damaged by the floods.

About 351,254 families are expected to benefit from the new compensation programme, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Theera Wongsamut said.

But for long-term solutions, the country needs 40 billion baht (1.2 billion U.S. dollars) to coordinate water management efforts, Thaland’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Monday.

“The problem is the lack of an integrated effort. As authorities in one province seek to prevent their province from floods, other provinces are affected,” Yingluck said.

She said the government did not know how to drain all the flood water, as it was almost everywhere.

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