Thailand: Flood death toll at 40, more rain on the way

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Forty people have died so far as a result of the floods that have ravaged 12 southern provinces since Jan 1, and forecasters say more rain is on the way starting on Monday.

The Meteorological Department has forecast isolated heavy rain from Monday to Wednesday, especially for Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat provinces.

Further downpours are expected on Thursday and Friday in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

"People should beware of severe conditions and possible flash floods," it said on its website on Saturday. "Areas prone to landslides are still subject to caution, and people should closely follow weather updates."

Nakhon Si Thammarat province has recorded the highest number of deaths, 11, from the unseasonal and catastrophic weather that cut off roads and railways throughout the South. High water also forced the closure of the airport in Nakhon Si Thammarat from Jan 6-13.

Chatchai Promlert, head of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Departmen, said on Saturday that floods and runoff, triggered by days of heavy downpours, had affected 1.6 million people from 522,330 households.

The affected provinces are Phatthalung, Narathiwat, Yala, Songkhla, Pattani, Trang, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chumphon, Ranong, Krabi and Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Forty people have been confirmed killed as a rsult of the floods, which also damaged 20 government installations, 1,135 roads and 191 bridges.

Flooding has now eased in five provinces: Yala, Ranong, Narathiwat, Pattani and Krabi.

However, in the seven other provinces, a total of 2,070 villages in 40 districts remain inundated.

Royal Irrigation Department chief Sanchai Ketvorachai said the department had been placed on full alert for a possible new round of flooding from Monday to Wednesday.

A total of 134 large water pumps and 78 vehicles equipped with water jet propulsion systems are now available in the South. There are also 105 more pumps and 34 more water jet propulsion systems on reserve, he said.

As well, he said, the department was ready with backhoes, more water pumps and flood drainage equipment.

In Prachuap Khiri Khan, rescuers and border patrol police on Saturday were helpng to clear roads in three villages in Bang Saphan district near the Myanmar border.

Residents of the villages -- Huay Kaitor, Khaoman and Chonchi -- faced food and water shortages for five days after runoff from the Tanaosri mountain range triggered landslides that blocked the roads, said Suwiwat Prommma, head of the Prachuap Khiri Khan highway police rescue team.

Border patrol police and rescuers in 10 off-road vehicles delivered dried food, rice, drinking water and necessities to residents after clearing the roads.

Bangkok Post
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