Floods force school closures in 11 provinces
More than 41,000 students in 11 provinces in the South have been hard hit by severe floods, according to the Ministry of Education.
In addition to homes and farmland, schools in 26 educational zones in those provinces have been gravely affected, according to Boonrux Yodpheth, secretary-general of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec).
Mr Boonrux, along with other officials from the ministry, is initiating plans to visit 945 schools to provide assistance.
"As there are more than 900 affected schools, the department officials will be divided up to travel to different areas," he said.
At this stage, the visits will focus on handing out basic relief items such as non-perishable food, water and medicines. "We can also help to improve the mood of the staff and pupils," said Mr Boonlux.
Phatthalung is among hardest-hit provinces because the area is vulnerable to strong mountain torrents as well as overflow from the adjacent, brimming Songkhla Lake.
Heavy rain has continued across the region, triggering a new round of flash floods caused by runoff from Banthat Mountain. This has caused severe floods in six nearby districts -- Pa Bon, Tamot, Kong Ra, Sri Nakharin, Sri Banphot and Pa Phayom in Phatthalung, according to officials.
Large volumes of water have also flowed into villages flooding roads, including the Asia 41 Highway which is a main transportation route, and ravaging vast tracts of farmland. In some areas, flood water was reportedly as deep as 1.50 metres.
Elsewhere, villages in four districts -- Muang, Khuan Hanun, Khao Chaison and Bang Kaeo -- are also dealing with a higher level of water in a lagoon due to heavy rainfall and high tides
The lagoon, which covers up to 1,000 square kilometres and connects to the sea, is adjacent to Phatthalung, Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat, so the increase in its water level has adverse effects on surrounding areas.
Local officials said they are preparing to suggest a long-term plan to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to solve flooding near the lagoon. They want the government to build at least six canals in Songkhla to better help divert water.
In tambon Chong in Trang's Nayong district, landslides and floods yesterday damaged a section of a road on Phap Pha mountain which links the province with Phatthalung.
The deluge of mud caused long cracks in the road while underground water washed away sand, leading to severe subsidence.
The affected portion was more than 35 metres long, according to officials who examined the road.
It was the latest damage in the province after two stretches of riverbank on the Trang River recently collapsed, causing flooding in villages nearby.
At least 50 families in tambon Bang Rak in Trang were told to evacuate for their own safety.
A 67-year-old resident, Prasoet Thongsut, said flooding near the Trang River is progressively getting more severe after land development blocked waterways.
If the development goes on, officials may need to build a higher embankment, he said.