Well, seems flooding is now not only likely this year, it's only a question of where and when. Sukhothai and part of the north are already under water and Bangkok's Deputy Governor has warned of flooding in some parts of the city due this week-end.
In Sukhothai, it was not, as is usually the case, an overflow from the Yom river. This year, we are told, it was a case of failure in barriers built in 2001. The Yom river normally overflows into rural areas. The 2001 flood barriers protect the inner city.
And who is responsible for this disaster? Even after everything the nation went through last year, bucks are being passed around as quickly as you can say "Splish, Splash, I'm taking a bath!"
"This was an unprecedented accident," Science Minister Plodprasob Surassawadee, who is also chairperson of the flood management committee, told media on Tuesday at Government House and apologised to flood-hit Sukhothai residents.
He said he was unaware of the failings in the cement barriers that were built in 2001, which allowed the water to flow into the town. He said the flooding should recede in a few days.
So, it was unprecedented
! He was unaware
? Naturally, not having happened in the last few years, absolutely no-one bothered to check the state of the cement. This is Thailand, after all!
Never mind! The PM has instructed Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk to fly with officials to visit the flood-affected areas, covering 5 square kilometres, which have been under 1.5 metres deep flood water.
Surely that’s reassuring? Well, not if what he said to local authorities is to be believed.
"Local authorities have not set up any management system to handle the flood situation," Preecha said.
"No one knows their responsibilities in dealing with the emergency. The single command centre must be set up now and working around the clock to stop flooding. If not, it will get worse," he told local authorities at the Sukhothai provincial rural roads office.
Provincial governors nationwide already have the authority to set up a command centre to handle floods. They do not need to an order from the government or Water and Flood Management Committee.
"We have to accept that Sukhothai local authorities had no experience in handling floods inside municipality areas," he said.
So, no experience and unprecedented
! No command centre
! Authorities have control and do not exercise it
! Didn't we hear all of this only a year ago?
Meanwhile, flooding continues down river of Sukhothai, and parts of Bangkok brace themselves for more flooding over the week-end. Unbelievable!