Isan On High Alert for Heavy Rain Brought by Tropical Storm Higos Today

Tropical Storm Higos

The Meteorological Department announced 14 provinces in the Northeast are on high alert with heavy downpours expected to hit at least 60% of the region today.

The provinces issued warnings were Loei, Udon Thani, Nong Khai, Bung Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Roi Et, Yasothon, Amnat Charoen, Mukdahan, Buri Ram, Surin, Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchathani.

The downpours, brought by Tropical Storm Higos, are expected to affect 60%-80% of the upper North and 70% of the lower Northeast, according to the weather bureau.

Several of the Northeast provinces are among those already hard hit by flash floods and mudslides that struck on Wednesday.

The warnings come as the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) launched emergency operations in the wake of Typhoon Higos, which made landfall in Zhuhai, in China’s Guangdong province on Wednesday before weakening into a tropical storm as it moved further inland.

It was reported the storm forced more than 65,000 people from their homes and schools to close in affected areas in China.

According to the DDPM, emergency teams have been dispatched to assist victims of Higos-triggered flash floods and landslides in 10 provinces; Loei, Udon Thani and Kalasin in the Northeast; Prachin Buri, Chanthaburi and Trat in the East; Phayao and Nan in the North; and Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat in the South.

Two people were reported killed in the floods and landslides. No details were given.

Deputy Interior Minister Niphon Bunyamanee said on Friday he has instructed the DDPM and governors of provinces affected by the tropical storm to provide relief aid to residents made homeless or badly affected by the natural disasters.

Provincial authorities were told to mount rescue and evacuation efforts where needed and have the resources and manpower ready to operate at all hours.

At the same time, Mr Bunyamanee said the rainfall would help alleviate the effects of drought in some areas. Local authorities would figure out how the water could be saved or diverted to replenish reservoirs or dams running dry as a result of drought.

An effective water management plan was crucial as water was running low at several dams, particularly those in the Northeast.