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Thailand Live Thursday 13 Oct 2011

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Thailand Live Thursday 13 October 2011

News, Bits and Tweets

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Keep up to date with live updates from the news, hour by hour.

For breaking news,national, regional and international news updates on a daily basis only, this thread is closed to commentary so that those who wish to follow the news can find it here...

Commentary is still open for Thailand news in the relevant thread posted in News Clippings.

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Related topic: Thailand Live Wednesday 12 Oct 2011

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Chuwit warns shortages could lead to looting

THE NATION

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Rak Prathet Thai Party chief Chuwit Kamolvisit has warned of chaos and possible looting as flood victims endure surging prices for consumer goods and the lack of necessary items.

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Flood victims to be moved from 'critical' Nakhon Sawan

The Nation

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After a long section of dykes collapsed on Monday, Nakhon Sawan remains critical as flood levels are still high, threatening a mass evacuation of around 200,000 residents.

Provincial governor Jitkasem Nirojthanarat said yesterday some evacuation in the worst hit areas is underway, as water levels reach four metres and tapwater and electricity are cut off.

"The situation in Nakhon Sawan, especially in the municipality, is critical, with the entire area under a flood level of at least one metre," he said.

Repair work to a dyke section near Lao market in Muang district is proceeding slowly because sandbags can be brought in only on barges, as all roads are under water.

The last 13 patients willing to be evacuated from Sawan Pracharak hospital have been transferred to other nearby centres where medical services are available, after water 70cm deep flooded the building. Hospital director Dr Sakchai Nilwatchararang said some other patients had been discharged.

A government relief centre at Sawan Pracharak reported that 22,000 residents in 17 communities living near it were being evacuated, with the help of 20 barges donated by China. Police patrols had been increased to guard against theft and break-ins. Residents were encouraged to cooperate with the evacuation and begin moving out during daytime, as there was no electricity in many areas.

Another lane of the main road linking Sing Buri and Lop Buri has been closed after a bridge collapsed, prompting further congestion of available lanes used intermittently as a reversible path for traffic. In several sections, one lane is occupied by flood victims camping on it.

Bhumibhol dam will now release only 10 or 15 per cent of its water after earlier releasing a huge 100-million cubic metres daily. Director Bun-in Chuenchawalit said yesterday this was because there was less floodwater in areas beyond the dam now.

The daily volume released will be around 10 or 15 million cubic metres each day from now on, under a joint decision by a national committee overseeing irrigation policies. The previous daily release of 100 million cubic metres caused high flood levels in many provinces beyond the dam, and drew criticism from affected villages.

Bun-in said the cold weather felt yesterday in the North was one of a number of good signs that had emerged, together with receding levels in three rivers - the Ping, Mae Chaem, and Mae Tuen - that feed water to the dam.

A weather forecast from the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department yesterday said an approaching depression and a monsoon would cause normal and heavy rain in the southern provinces of Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Satun and Trang, where a mudslide risk remains. Residents living at the foot of hills or near waterways are advised to watch the colour of waterways and be ready to escape if it turns brown or is full of sediment.

An official flood damage report update yesterday said 281 people were listed as drowned with two missing, while the number of flooded provinces has dropped from 30 to 26. Around 2.2 million people living in 766,267 households in 10,344 villages in 187 districts had been affected.

A total of 9,670,726 of farms and 128,429 fish farms have been damaged or flooded, and 223 roads in 34 provinces.

The volume of water trapped by major dams is still considered excessive - with 99 per cent in Bhumibhol dam in Tak, 98 per cent in Uttaradit's Sirikit dam, 100 per cent at Khaew Noi dam in Phitsanulok, and 130 per cent in Pa Sak Chonlasit dam in Lop Buri.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-13

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Schools in Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani offer shelter

The Nation

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Suankularb Wittayalai Nonthaburi School in Nonthaburi's Pak Kret district was set up as temporary shelter yesterday, offering accommodation for up to 800 people.

The school is also being used as a coordination centre for the Education Ministry's flood-relief operations in Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi. Since the Office of Vocational Education Commission has been given the job of helping flood victims in Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi, the coordination centre will have non-affected vocational schools to help out with the flood-relief operations.

Some six-wheeled trucks, boats and flood supplies have been readied, and students have been put to work constructing mobile toilets.

The school's director Poramet Molee said related authorities had agreed to set up shelters in 12 schools in Nonthaburi and 21 in Pathum Thani. The schools in Nonthaburi include Watkhemapirataram School and Triamudomsuksapattanakarn Nonthaburi School in Muang district, which can accommodate 1,000 evacuees each, Bang Bua Thong district's Bang Bua Thong School has space for 500 people, and Sai Noi district's Sai Noi and Ratniyom schools can put up 300 evacuees each.

Meanwhile, Rangsit University yesterday set up a shelter at its two-storey recreation building, which can accommodate up to 300 people. Donations are welcome. Call (02) 997 2200, extensions 3303-4 for information round the clock.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-13

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Food appeal for stranded elephants

The Nation

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Some 15 elephants, along with seven families of mahouts, have been stranded in the rising flood waters at the Royal Elephant Kraal in Ayutthaya's Suan Prik district.

Pineapple plants and drinking water for the elephants and drinking water for the mahout families were needed as well as boats to deliver the items to them, said Ewa Narkiewicz, communications director of Elephantstay at the Royal Elephant Kraal.

While the government was trying to help flood victims, assistance was also needed for the affected elephants, Elephantstay urged. It invited those interested in sending elephant food and drinking water to contact (080) 668 7727 (English) or (081) 821 7065 (Thai).

Seventy of the kraal's elephants had been moved to higher ground. But the eight mother elephants and their seven babies remained in the kraal as at first it was believed to be safe enough for them.

But now the flood water level has risen by more than two metres, too deep for the animals to swim out, especially the seven baby elephants that are under two years old.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-13

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Police set up centre to protect victims

The Nation

Police have set up a crime-prevention and suppression centre in Ayutthaya to protect flood-affected people from being dealt a second blow, a senior official said yesterday.

Acting national police chief Pol General Priewpan Damapong said officers in non-affected areas had been dispatched to assist residents in Nakhon Sawan, Lop Buri and Ayutthaya, though there was still a lack of sufficient boats and trucks. He said Provincial Police Region 1 chief Khamronwit Thupkrachang was in charge of the newly set-up centre in Ayutthaya and would have officials gather complaints and well as lead patrols to guard people's property.

The Royal Thai Police Bureau has also earmarked Bt150 million to help officers affected by the flooding in 12 provinces, Priewpan added.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-13

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Parking spots in the capital

The Nation

The Metropolitan Police have prepared 109 parking spots for Bangkok residents, which will accommodate a total of 69,959 cars.

Parking spaces will be provided at Esplanade Mall (500), Fortune Mall (400), the Don Mueang Airport (3,000), Central Lat Phrao (3,000), BTS Mor Chit parking lot (2,000), Government Savings Bank headquarters (500), Kasetsart University (500), Maha Nakhon University (2,000), The Mall Bang Kapi (3,000), Paradise Park (600), Sports Authority of Thailand (1,500), Central Rama III (900), Big C Ekamai (1,000), Central World (3,000), Siam Paragon (3,000), Chulalongkorn University (1,000), Central Pinklao (2,000), Islam Wittaya School (300), Asia University (500), Kanchanapisek Ring Road (10,000) among others.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-13

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Private hospitals join in flood-relief efforts

Pongphon Sarnsamak

The Nation

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The Public Health Ministry is teaming up with private hospitals to provide medical treatment for people in flooded provinces.

About 40 private hospitals in Bangkok and the Central region are expected to join in. The move comes after many provincial hospitals were left inundated. "Patients will be treated at private hospitals for free. All they need to do is give hospital staff their social security details," Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said.

He also instructed hospitals in Bangkok and adjacent provinces, including Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani, to be prepared for the flood situation and make evacuation plans.

"More than 10,000 cubic metres of water from the North will flow down to the Central region and Bangkok. There is no point in building flood barriers. The first thing is to evacuate patients to a safe place," Witthaya told health officials at a meeting on handling the flood situation.

"We expect the floods to last for about two months and need to make evacuation plans," he added.

He also instructed all hospital staff and medical workers to support each other.

"Since we are facing the toughest time in our lives, the young generation, especially medical workers, should learn how to deal with natural disasters and provide medical care to affected people," Witthaya said.

However, a source at the ministry said only 206 beds in six Bangkok hospitals and 70 beds in private hospitals in the Central region were available for flood victims.

Meanwhile, Deputy Public Health Minister Torpong Chaiyasarn led a group of comedians to Lop Buri yesterday to offer some light relief to people affected by the floods.

Since Tuesday, more than 84,622 people in flood-affected areas were diagnosed with severe depression, with about 607 of them considering suicide and 4,592 under stress.

"We have to accept the truth and not panic. We should talk and help each other move forward," he said.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-13

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Floods damage 6.48m rai of fields

A total of 6.48 million rai of plantation area has been damaged by floods in 47 provinces, the Commerce Ministry reported.

Of the total, 5.03 million rai of rice fields have been destroyed, along with 105,348 rai of cassava plantation areas, 3,138 rai of rubber plantations, 511,573 rai of dry crops, 602,297 rai of vegetables and fruits, and 45,125 fisheries and 676,745 livestock.

The ministry also reported that because of the flooding, only 25,665 tonnes of paddy rice had entered to the ricepledging project in the past six days.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-13

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