Sonca storm leaves ruinous signature
Floods batter farms in NE, Central Plains
From a rail track buried under mudflow to several thousand rai of farmland swallowed by floods, tropical depression Sonca left its mark on the Northeast and Central Plains as it whipped through the regions Thursday.
Though Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda tried to calm flood victims by assuring them the storm, which has since been downgraded, was forecast to clear up completely Friday, many face severe asset losses. Some have lost loved ones.
Heavy rain in Nakhon Ratchasima was blamed for the death of 18-year-old Phonnipha Atthanak in a car crash against a roadside tree after the driver lost control on slippery Mittraphap Road in Non Sung district early Thursday.
The pickup truck, purchased on Wednesday from a second-hand seller in Saraburi, had overturned. The teenager was thrown out of the vehicle.
The driver and other passenger suffered injuries.
- Earlier report: Floods block northern railway
Elsewhere, mudslides blocked a train tunnel between Khok Khli station in Lop Buri and Chong Samran in Chaiyaphum, causing railway officials to alert trains heading to Nong Khai in the Northeast they had to be immediately rerouted for passengers' safety.
The mud piled up quickly and almost reached the tunnel ceiling, according to reports.
"We need about two or three days to clear it," acting State Railway of Thailand governor Anon Luangboriboon said Thursday.
Trains had to be rerouted via Kaeng Khoi in Saraburi, causing delays to trips between Nong Khai in the Northeast and Bangkok.
The northeastern region is currently bearing the heavy brunt of Sonca. Si Sa Ket has been the hardest hit in light of its damaged farmland.
Downpours slammed the Si Sa Ket districts of Khun Han, Kantharalak and Phu Sing, inundating more than 20,000 rai of crop fields and damaging roads and villages, provincial governor Thawat Suraban said.
"The damage keeps getting worse," he said, adding the affected areas are low-lying and prone to mountain torrents.
In Kalasin, overflow from rivers burst into at least 3,000 rai of paddy fields. Nakhon Phanom was reported to be facing a similar problem, with rice stalks on more than 2,000 rai under water, according to officials.
Authorities in Nakhon Phanom have been closely monitoring water levels on the Mekong River, which is said to be on the verge of overflowing in some areas. Its banks can stand up to 13 metres, one metre above the level recorded Thursday.
Chaotic scenes were also reported in Khon Kaen when powerful floods put a school for the visually impaired children under one metre of water and hit at least 50 houses in Muang district. The province saw heavy rainfall for a second day.
The school area and local roads almost turned into canals, with rescue teams using boats to help flood victims.
The Prime Minister's Office said the government opened a new channel to help flood victims and is seeking public donations.