Thailand

Thailand: Floods ravage 5 southern provinces

Thousands affected as heavy downpours hit

Torrential rain on Tuesday night triggered flash floods that hit parts of the five southern provinces of Krabi, Surat Thani, Songkhla, Phatthalung and Yala yesterday, affecting thousands of people.

In Krabi, the downpours caused flash floods from 3am onward in several communities in Khao Phanom district.

Several roads, at least 40 houses and more than 500 rai of farmland in three tambons of this district -- tambon Phru Tiaw, tambon Khao Phanom and tambon Khao Din -- were affected by the sudden flooding.

Arun Sing-in, chief of the the district office, said people in other areas had possibly been affected by the floods also, as the official survey on the flood damage was still under way.

Torrential rain began on Tuesday evening and continued for several hours, he said.

In Surat Thani, communities situated near the foot of the mountains in Phrasaeng, Chai Buri and Phanom districts were affected by flash floods that had damaged some roads and affected at least 50 households.

Repair work on the roads began yesterday after the floodwater had begun receding.

In Songkhla, at least two schools in Hat Yai district, the province's main business centre, were forced to shut for two days following the floods.

The affected schools are in tambon Phatong municipality in Hat Yai.

Wasan Chaithawiwong, acting head of the office of disaster prevention and mitigation, said aside from tambon Phatong in Hat Yai, tambon Khao Daeng in Saba Yoi district was also affected by incidents of flash flooding yesterday.

He said although the floodwater had receded, the two areas were instructed to remain on high alert for likely new flooding due to high water levels in the main canals and the possibility of more rain.

In Phatthalung, run-off from the mountainous Khao Pu-Khao Ya National Park Si Banphot district caused flooding in at least two nearby tambons and prompted an evacuation of residents.

In Yala, the districts of Yaha and Kabang were affected by flash floods triggered by run-off from the Labu mountain range in Yaha district and Nai mountain range in Kabang district.

More than 500 houses in the flood-prone zones of these two districts were flooded yesterday.

Elsewhere, the flooding situation in the Central Plains has been improving.

The water level in the Chao Phraya River measured at a water checkpoint in Pamok district of Ang Thong province, for instance, read 23cm yesterday -- well below the critical point of 6.5m.

Water level measurements conducted at other water checkpoints also suggested that water levels in this main river of the region are decreasing.

But the lives of people living in Pamok district, for instance, suffering floods for more than four months, have yet to return to normal.

Wacharachai Chanphen, 33, who keeps cows in Moo 4 village of the district, complained that he was still unable to take his 38 cows out to graze, as grass in his field is still covered with filthy floodwater and mud.

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