PM skips temple to avoid clash

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visits people in Wat Saeng Siritham community of tambon Tha It in Pak Kret district, Nonthaburi, on Thursday. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was forced to skip a stop in his tour of flooded riverside communities in Nonthaburi, after learning that a group of protesters were waiting for him at a temple in Muang district.

A source close to the prime minister said Gen Prayut was originally scheduled to visit Wat Khemaphirataram before continuing to Wat Saeng Siritham in Pak Kret district, about 17 kilometres away.

But his itinerary was changed at the last minute to exclude Wat Khemaphirataram, where a number of anti-government protesters were planning to pelt the prime minister with excrement and fermented fish paste as soon as he arrived.

At Wat Saeng Siritham, the premier was greeted by the chairman of Tha It tambon administrative organisation (TAO), Preeda Chuepoodee, to whom he expressed his disappointment about the protest.

At the end of his visit, he said the government will allocate additional funds to improve the flood resilience of many provinces, noting some provinces will need over 500 million baht to bolster their flood defences.

“While we wait for these projects to be completed, we must learn how to deal with the floods, especially those living in riverside communities,” he said.

When asked if the residents he had just visited asked for help with any particular issue, he said they are already “experienced” in dealing with inundation.

“[The residents] still smile when they see me, which could only mean they understand what the government is trying to do,” he said.

Nonthaburi’s Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office said the water level around Nonthaburi Pier had risen to 2.88 metres on Thursday, resulting in several areas around Rama V Intersection being submerged.

In response, Muang police warned motorists to avoid Rama V Intersection and closed the inbound and outbound ramps of the Rama V bridge to ensure safety.

To help commuters affected by the flood, Pakapong Sirikantaramas, governor of Mass Rapid Transit Authority, announced a waiver of car parking fees at Khlong Bang Phai, Sam Yaek Bang Yai, Bang Rak Noi Tha It, and Yaek Nonthaburi 1 stations until the situation improved.


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