By Mirva Helenius, IFRC
Thai Red Cross is responding to the needs of people affected by severe flooding in southern Thailand. Continuous heavy rains have been pouring down over the past few weeks, causing flash floods and widespread flooding in 12 provinces: Phatthalung, Narathiwas, Yala, Songkhla, Pattani, Trang, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Krabi, Ranong, Chumphon and Prachaub Khirikhan.
According to Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), 31 people have lost their lives and two are missing. It is estimated that more than 1 million people have been affected by the floods, and over 360,000 houses were damaged.
Thousands of people have been forced to evacuate to safer places. The floods have also caused significant damage to roads, bridges and drainage ditches. In some areas, such as Nakorn Sri Thammarat province, many villages have been isolated and are accessible by boat only.
In response to the disaster, Thai Red Cross Society has been distributing relief items and working closely with national, provincial and local authorities to address the most immediate needs of the affected communities. Red Cross staff and volunteers delivered rice, food, drinking water and non-food items to people in the affected areas. Non-food relief items included relief kits comprising torches and batteries, mosquito nets and basic medicine. As the relief operation continues and assessments are made to unravel the extent of the damage caused by the flooding, the Red Cross plans to distribute more than 37,000 of the relief kits in ten of the affected provinces.
The Red Cross will also send two mobile water units to provide clean drinking water to the flood-affected communities in Nakorn Sri Thammarat. One of these units has the capacity to produce 10,000 litres of drinking water per hour, while the other can produce 3,000 litres per hour. In addition, the national society has sent health staff to support health stations in the affected regions.