Rivers, including the Mekong, have broken their banks after heavy rainfall from Tropical Cyclone Podul, which was closely followed by Tropical Depression Kajiki. According to reports, over 1,000 km2 is under water in Laos.
The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA) reported on 09 September that flooding has affected 397,000 people (123,000 households) across the 6 provinces of Khammouan, Savannakhet, Champasak, Saravan, Sekong, and Attapeu.
The worst hit areas are the provinces of Champasak, where over 116,000 have been affected, and Sekong 121,700 affected. Elsewhere, over 32,000 have been affected in Khammouan, 36,000 in Savannakhet, 60,000 in Saravan and 29,000 in Attapeu.
Fatalities were reported in Savannakhet (3), Champasak (5), Saravan (2), Sekong, and Attapeu (4). Houses were damaged or destroyed including 28 in Khammouan and 9 in Sekong.
Around 88,000 people have been displaced in Khammouan (4,000), Savannakhet (24,000), Champasak (30,000), Saravan(30,000), Sekong, and Attapeu.
According to AHA “a total of about 1,000 km2 of land appears to be flooded as of 06 September (Friday) 2019,” including 332 km2 in Champasak and 352 km2 in Savannakhet. AHA added that the flooding is mostly in the valleys along the Mekong River.
According to a report by the International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies (IFRCS) of 07 September, flash flooding and landslides have affected 147 districts across 32 provinces in Thailand since 29 August 2019 when Storm Podul crossed into north-east and northern parts of the country.
According to the Thai Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), approximately 158,028 households have been affected, and 19 deaths reported as of 06 September 2019.
There has also been severe damages to infrastructure and assets including 3,818 houses, 439 schools and 57 health facilities damaged; 1,503,367 rai (equivalent to 240,538 hectares) of crops inundated, 1,065 prawn farms, 16,577 fish farms, and 814,816 livestock (cattle, goats, pigs and poultry) affected.
The Government of Thailand has announced emergency assistance plans in 14 provinces; and is continuing to conduct evacuations in 10 provinces (Amnat Charoen, Khon Kaen, Petchaboon, Phitsanulok Pichit, Roi-Et, Sri Saket, Sukhothai, Ubon Ratchathani and Yasothorn). The emergency assistance includes evacuations, setting up disaster relief shelters, as well as provision of food and drinking water.
The affected provinces are: Amnat Charoen, Chaiyaphoom, Chiang Mai, Chumporn, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Loei, Lumpang, Mae Hong Son, Maha Sarakham, Mukdaharn, Nakorn Phanom, Nan, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Petchaboon, Phitsanulok, Pichit, Pracheenburi, Prae, Ranong, RoiEt, Sakon Nakorn, Srakeo, Sri Saket, Sukhothai, Surin, Trad, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Utaradit and Yasothorn.
According to the Mekong River Commission (MRC), levels of the Mekong are showing signs of falling and the river is above danger mark only at Pakse in Champasak Province, Laos, standing at 12.32 metres where danger is 12 metres.
Although levels are falling, the river remained at alarm level at Khong Chiam in Ubon Ratchathani Province, Thailand, and at several other locations in Cambodia.
Featured photo: File photo for illustration only. Mekong river floods. Photo: KY Geologist / Flickr, under CC BY 2.0