Southern flooding turns fatal

Southern flooding turns fatal

Highway 4169, the main road around Koh Samui, was under 60 centimetres of water on Saturday after days of heavy rain. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)
Highway 4169, the main road around Koh Samui, was under 60 centimetres of water on Saturday after days of heavy rain. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)

Three people have drowned and a fisherman is missing as heavy rain pounds the southern provinces, with floods affecting thousands of people.

In Surat Thani, the worst-hit province, high water made the main road around the popular tourist island of Koh Samui impassable. Heavy rain was also delaying some flights at Samui Airport. 

In Kanchanadit district, Natthaphol Manajak, 6, from Nakhon Si Thammarat, drowned in floodwaters on Nai Lai Road in tambon Tha Uthae, said Jamnong Sawasdiwong, chief of the provincial disaster mitigation office.

Two other people were reported to have drowned on Saturday in Nakhon Si Thammarat province but further details were not available.

Suthep Abmanee, a 55-year-old fisherman, is missing after his fishing boat sank in the estuary of the Phum Riang canal in Chaiya district in Surat Thani.

Mr Jamnong said the rain in Surat Thani had been relentless, with 315 millimetres falling in Kanchanadit and 355mm in Don Sak district in 24 hours. Flooding is also affecting five other districts: Chaiya, Khiri Ratthanikhom, Phunphin, Tha Chang and Wipawadi.

Water levels ranged between 50 and 150 centimetres, and about 5,300 local residents in 99 villages have been affected.

It was raining on Koh Samui but ferries continued to operate to and from the popular tourist island, with some precautions. Swimming was prohibited along Chaweng beach for safety reasons.

In Trang, floods have hit five districts -- Huai Yot, Muang Nayong, Ratsada and Wang Wiset -- and affected about 20,000 people. The hardest-hit district was Ratsada where the water flowing from Thung Song district of Nakhon Si Thammarat was between 1.5 and 2 metres deep.

Local authorities said the flooding was the most severe to hit the province in 15 years.

In Nakhon Si Thammarat, flooding was reported in Cha-uat, Chulabhorn, Muang, Nop Phi Tam, Phra Phrom, Ron Phibun, Sichon, Tha Sala and Thung Song districts. High water blocked road access to the seaside Khao Plai Dam mountain, a famous touirist destination.

About 6,000 families were affected, and local authorities reported two drownings. On Saturday afternoon, the low-lying Tha Pho community in the centre of the province was inundated.

The Meteorological Department on Saturday predicted heavy rain, flash floods and runoff in the southern provinces of Chumphon, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Phatthalung, Phuket, Songkhla, Satun, Surat Thani, Trang and Yala over the next few days.

Floodwaters reach the gate of Ratsada Hosppital in Ratsada district of Trang province. (Photo by Methee Muangkaew)

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