Flood-hit families in southern Thailand await new deluge of rain with potential landslides and flash flooding

Heavy and torrential rainfall has been forecast for Thailand’s southern provinces over the next 48 hours, adding to the challenges faced by more than 1.1 million people already affected by the deadly flooding that started almost two months ago.

Thailand’s Meteorological Department issued the warning today, saying there was a risk of flash flooding, landslides and storm surges up until Wednesday night. Waves of up to three metres are predicted in the lower Gulf of Thailand, with all ships warned to take caution.

“The floods have already had a huge impact on more than a million people in Thailand, and now many of the worst affected communities are facing another dangerous deluge of rain,” Save the Children’s Interim Country Director in Thailand, Kim Koch, said.

“A lot of families are struggling to get back on their feet after having watched their homes being badly damaged, their clothes and personal items ruined and their food stocks destroyed. These new rains are the last thing needed, potentially causing even more destruction.”

Twelve provinces in Thailand’s south have been affected by the flooding that started on December 1, 2016, with more than 500,000 homes either damaged or destroyed. At least 40 people have died.

“We’re particularly concerned about the impact the flooding is having on children. Experiencing this kind of longer-term disaster can be really scary, and many children will be wondering what has happened to their friends and extended family members,” Ms Koch said.

“It’s really important that we get children back to school as soon as possible, and that parents, teachers and other community members look out for children who might be distressed or traumatised because of the floods.”

Save the Children has already distributed hundreds of food packages to some of the most affected and hard-to-reach families.

The aid agency, which works in eight of the 12 flood-affected provinces, will also distribute basic hygiene items like diapers and sanitary napkins, and education materials, as well as providing cash hand outs so people can buy basic necessities like clean clothes, and replace any damaged household items, while also carrying out child protection activities.

“We’re working closely with the government, other aid agencies and the communities themselves to make sure affected families can fully recover from the flooding as quickly as possible,” Ms Koch said.

Save the Children has been operating in Thailand since 1984, supporting vulnerable children and families in education, child protection, health and nutrition, disaster risk reduction and humanitarian response.