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THAILAND CLOSES 42 WATERFALLS BEFORE TROPICAL STORM

BANGKOK, Malaysia Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation on Tuesday evening announced a temporary closure of 42 waterfalls in national parks across the country before the looming tropical storm "Bebinca".

Sompote Maneerat, spokesman from the department said officials at the designated national parks were instructed to pay a close watch to the situation of waterfalls.

"The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has instructed all officials at designated waterfalls to pay a close watch to water levels generated by the waterfalls," said Sompote, "should water level rise to a certain point, the official must immediately inform the department."

Sompote suggested tourists to stay informed about the waterfalls they want to visit and to follow the advice of field officials and all the warning signs for their own safety.

He also said that not all waterfalls will be off-limits to visitors.

"Some of the waterfalls will be temporarily closed while others would be closed for a longer period, depending on the water situation in each waterfall," said Sompote.

The recent massive run-offs generated from the Khao Yai National Park to nearby Nang Rong waterfall at Nakorn Nayok Province had triggered National Park officials to call for an immediate entry ban until further notice.

The run-offs from the Khao Yai National Park flooded downstream zones, stranding many tourists as well as a team of film crew, prompting authorities to rush to help.

Somkiat Prajamwong, secretary-general of the Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR) warned on Tuesday that Bebinca storm will be hovering in Vietnam between August 15 and 16, causing more rainfalls in Thailand.

"Dams and main rivers in the country's North, Upper Northeast and the East will have to deal with a bigger water volume," said Somkiat. "We will issue one update daily when the water situation is normal, but updates will be issued every three hours for overwhelmed reservoirs."

Flash floods, inundation and landslides not only caused damages to properties but also claimed lives, said the secretary-general, referring to last month's rain-induced landslides which killed several lives in Nan Province.

Thailand's three major dams Kaeng Krachan in Phetchaburi province, Nam Oun in Sakon Nakhon and Vajiralonglorn in Kanchanaburi province are still being closely monitored.

Source; NAM News Network

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