Runoff, mudslides hit upper North

The upper North was ravaged by forest runoff and flash floods on Friday night after heavy rain dumped water in many villages, prompting residents to flee in the middle of the night.

Forest runoff, triggered by hours of heavy rain, washed away sections of a road and a bridge under construction on the Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai road in Doi Saket district of Chiang Mai, forcing drivers to find alternate routes. Police yesterday inspected the damaged sections from kilometre markers 32 to 36 in Doi Saket district.

An information post was set up at the entrance to the Mae Kuang Udom Thara dam where police advised motorists travelling from Chiang Mai to use alternate routes. The motorists were told to detour through Phrao district in Chiang Mai and Wiang Pa Pao district in neighbouring Chiang Rai.

Chiang Mai governor Charoenrit Sa-nguansat said he had asked the Highway Department and its contractor to accelerate repairs. The bridge on the route was damaged in three sections between kilometre 32 at Mae Wan village in tambon Pa Miang and kilometre 36 in Pong Or of the same tambon.

In Phayao province, torrential rain triggered runoff which destroyed homes and farmland in many villages of Dok Kham Tai district.

Strong currents swept away a pickup truck carrying a body for a funeral ceremony. Other crops and vehicles were destroyed by the mudslide which also disrupted traffic.

A 64-year-old villager said he found his house was hit hard by the torrential rain and mudslide about 2am. He and his wife raced their belongings upstairs, but it was too late. The influx of mud had covered everything in the basement, he said, adding that he already lost several sacks of paddy and feed for his animals.

In Lampang, runoff from Doi Luang National Park devastated more than 100 houses across several villages in Wang Nua district.

Prapat Ung-trakul, chief of Wang Nua district, said the runoff unleashed flash floods which reached up to one metre and ravaged many houses.

Moo 3 in Ban Pong Tham and Moo 7 of Ban Pong Thong, well-known cultural villages, were hardest hit.

Saneh Songdee, village chief of Ban Pong Tham, said runoff from the park entered the canal and the overflow hit the village. He said it was the worst flooding to hit in 50 years.


Source: Bangkok Post