Thai government have been busy lately setting up commissions, agencies and various work groups to handle properly the flooding problem before next rainy season starts. The cabinet on Tuesday agreed to set up a single command agency to boost the efficiency of the country’s water and natural disaster management, said government spokesperson Thitima Chaisaeng on Tuesday.

Thailand’s Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry on Wednesday admitted that the current flood in Sena district of Ayutthaya resulted from intentional water discharges from two major dams further north.

Nikorn Chamnong, adviser to the agriculture and cooperatives minister, explained that the ongoing flood in Sena district was unusual.

He explained that it was caused by water discharge from the Bhumibol and Sirikit dams in Tak and Uttaradit as the two facilities began discharging water as planned by the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management (SCWRM) to prevent possible flooding later in the rainy season.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has questioned why the government is organizing a glitzy party to raise awareness on flood control, seen as being insensitive to the plight of the last year’s disaster victims. Abhisit said if the government wanted to hold a thank-you party for those involved in the flood relief, then the event should be moderate and without the lavishness.

“I think the planned glitzy celebration would hurt the feelings of a lot of people who were impacted by the government’s mismanagement of the flooding,”

he said.

Ms Thitima, who is also the prime minister’s deputy secretary-general for political affairs, said the new agency will comprise two committees.

Two committees and one agency are in charge

The National Committee for Water and Flood Policy chaired by the prime minister will supervise policy planning of water management. It will be advised by the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management (SCWRM).

A women watches a flooded bank of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok
A women watches a flooded bank of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

Another committee on water and flood management, chaired by a deputy prime minister or a minister, will be set up to execute the action plan in accordance with the policy formulated by the national committee for water and flood policy.

Ms Thitima said the government also agreed to set up the office of water resources and flood policy and management in order to integrate and implement all policies. The office will be run by its secretary-general appointed by the premier and is supervised by the Office of the Prime Minister.

Yingluck Shinawatra is scheduled to inspect work on the flood problem next week

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is scheduled to inspect work on the solving of the flood problem in upstream, middle-stream, and downstream provinces from 13 to 17 February 2012

During the inspection tour, the Prime Minister will listen to the problems and obstacles faced by those provinces and will also explain the Government’s flood prevent plans.

The trip will take the Prime Minister to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Tak, Nan, Phrae, Lampang, Lamphun, and Phayao, which are upstream provinces. In the middle-stream provinces, she will visit Phitsanulok, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Phichit, Kamphaeng Phet, and Chai Nat. The downstream provinces include Suphan Buri, Ayutthaya, Prachin Buri, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nonthaburi, Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Chachoengsao, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, and Bangkok.

Prior to the inspection tour, Prime Minister Yingluck will hold an event to thank all parties involved for their work in easing the recent flood crisis in Thailand. The event will take place between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on February 10 at Santi Maitri Building and in front of Thai Khu Fah Building, Government House. It will be televised on NBT (Television Channel 11), Modernine TV (Television Channel 9), and Thai PBS.

The President of the Privy Council and Senior Statesman General Prem Tinsulanonda has been invited to preside over the event. Among the participants will be privy councilors, members of the diplomatic corps, military and police leaders, government officials, representatives from the business sector, and members of the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management and the Strategic Committee for Reconstruction and Future Development.

The meeting of the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management, chaired by the Prime Minister on February 3, approved the organizing of four workshops from February to March this year to explain the Government’s Master Plan for Water Resources Management and the action plan to mitigate floods on an urgent basis. The workshops will also sound out the opinions of various sectors of society on several issues, such as floodways, flood diversion channels, and forest rehabilitation to create natural equilibrium.

The master plan covers flood prevention projects, worth 350 billion baht, to be implemented on both an urgent and sustainable basis. An integrated water management organization will be established to handle the entire water management system.

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