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Prime Minister Prayut retracts earlier statements, nationwide floods have ruined country’s national holiday

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has admitted the government’s inability to fully resolve the country’s annual flooding problems, but promised prompt compensation for the victims.

He spoke yesterday, Sunday, Sept. 26, as he led authorities to visit flood victims in Sukhothai’s Sri Samrong district, one of the areas worst hit by Tropical Storm Dianmu.

As they flew into the province, General Prayut and Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda saw firsthand the magnitude of the problem and discussed emergency response measures for victims, a source said.

During the visit, the prime minister distributed bags of essential items to victims of the flooding at Ban Khlong Chad in tambon Wang Yai and at Wat Don Chan in tambon Ban Rai in Sri Samrong district. He then went to Wat Ban San in Tambon Ban San to inspect relief operations.

“It is indeed a holiday. But if people are in trouble, we can’t take a day off,” Prime Minister Prayut said.

“The government needs a comprehensive flood management plan for the entire country.

In our country, floods flow from highlands to low-lying areas, from the north to the south. They gather in different rivers and flood the same areas repeatedly. Therefore, flood management is required in specific areas and retention reservoirs must be ready to absorb water for future use.

“When floods happen, all we can do is make them disappear faster and pay compensation as soon as possible. We have to think about how we can minimize the damage.”

He added that he was not opposing a flood management project, but that budget allocations should follow legal procedures and the projects should be subject to public hearings.

Yesterday, floods wreaked havoc in several areas of Sukhothai, especially the western side of the province, from the Khlong Pho intersection on the Sukhothai-Muang Khao road to the Big C hypermarket five kilometers away.

In areas near Sukhothai Hospital, Sukhothai Witthakhom School, Sukhothai College of Dramatic Arts and Sukhothai Technical College, the water was 1 meter deep.

Doctors, nurses, hospital staff and visitors had to use rescue boats to take them to the hospital walled in with five piles of sandbags.

Mana Bankluay, a resident of Sri Samrong district, said he wanted the prime minister to alleviate the hardship of farmers as much of their land has been destroyed.

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