Dramatic vision has emerged of Royal Thai Navy (RTN) personnel from the Mekhong Riverine Unit (MRU) rescuing people swept away by raging flood waters ravaging the country’s northeast.
In the the video above RTN personal are seen helping evacuate a mother with a newborn baby from the path of the raging torrent.
Additional video shows RTN sailors aboard a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) – crossing what in ordinary times would be farming land — on the banks of the Mekong River in Nakhon Phanom Province.
Fighting against the turbulent current they navigate the craft to a patch of trees where a hapless farmer clings desperately, fighting to hold on against the cascading flood waters, swirling mid-thigh high.
The helmsman edges the boat gently alongside the trees where the happy, smiling man is pulled aboard. The Royal Thai Navy say the rescue caught on camera today is only one of many they have performed over the past week as flood waters rage through the Thailand’s northeast.
According to the Mekhong Riverine Unit News, the unit has helped transport some 570 families or about 2,200 people in three areas of Nakhon Phanom Province to safe areas outside of the raging flood waters and will continue to stay providing assistance as required.
According to Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) some 16 provinces are currently affected by flooding, with more than 160,000 hectares (about 395,000 acres) of mostly farmland and monkey cheeks (a floodwater storage system devised by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej), damaged in four northeastern provinces alone. Thailand’s Department of Highways has reported that highways in 15 provinces have been submerged by flood water and are currently closed.
Upstream neighbouring Sakon Nakhon has been particularly hard hit. Some 400 million cubic metres (106 billion US gallons) of rain water dumped on the province last week leaving the Sakon Nakhon Airport flooded and closed to air traffic, while hundreds of people remain isolated.
As the government ramps up relief efforts, Ministry of Interior permanent secretary, Grisda Boonrach, has instructed all provincial governors to closely supervise and ensure transparency in the handling of donations for flood affected people.
The government continues to warn those in flood-prone provinces that more heavy rains are expected to arrive this weekend, while some water catchment areas are being forced to increase their discharge rate, affecting those living further downstream.
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- About one million rai of mostly farmland in 4 NE provinces damaged by flooding (Thai PBS)
- Interior Ministry expects flood situation in Sakon Nakhon to improve in a week (Thai PBS)
- PM orders preparations on concerns over flooding (NNT)