AFTER an earthen dam in Myanmar burst today (August 13) huge amounts of floodwater swept into both Mae Sai town in Chiang Rai province and Tachileik town in the neighbouring country with the Sai river still critically four metres high, Naewna newspaper said.
Floodwater continues to overflow the barriers and gush into Sailomjoy market which is the main economic centre of Mae Sai district with five other communities also badly inundated.
The fast-flowing floodwater is higher than a metre in many areas with people stranded in their homes as vehicles could not be used. Around 2,000 houses and shops have already flooded.
Mr. Thanatmet, 40, the owner of a blanket shop in this market, said the flooding this year is far more severe than previous years with this lingering for the second day in a row and there is no sign of the floodwater decreasing.
At least 50 shops in this market are inundated and merchandise destroyed with damage being minimum 10 million baht.
Shopkeepers had prepared for the floods but did not expect it to reach this high with their products placed 50 centimetres or a metre higher being damaged.
Mr. Narongpol Kidan, Mae Sai district chief, together with Mae Sai subdistrict municipality officials set up a coordination and assistance centre for the victims in front of the border crossing.
Myanmar authorities in Tachileik brought in a backhoe to scoop up scraps of wood and rubbish that floated down the river at the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge to allow the water to drain faster and not continue flowing into Tha Lo market which is this Myanmar province’s economic centre.
In some places the floodwater is two metres high and thousands of shops and houses along Sai river were flooded similar to the Thai side but the flooding could be more severe in lower marsh areas.
All police units ordered to urgently help flood victims in the North
Meanwhile, National Police Chief Pol. Gen. Suwat Chaengyodsuk today (August 13) ordered all police units to use cars and boats to deliver food and drinking water to flood victims in northern provinces as tropical storm Mulan continues to dump more rain, TV Channel 7 said.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Nat Sing-udom, head of the Border Patrol Police, said many areas in the north have been affected including Mae Chan district in Chiang Rai province, Phu Sang district in Phayao province, Mae Ai and Fang districts in Chiang Mai province and Bo Kluea district in Nan province.
Border Patrol Police Region 3 has been urgently helping people suffering as floodwater gushed through their communities since Thursday August 11 when Mulan moved into the country.
Heavily flooded Sailomjoy market at Chaing Rai’s Mae Sai town. All photos: Naewna