Cold wave causes 14 deaths
Boat crew rescued, hundreds evacuated
Fourteen people have died in the past few days as a result of a sharp drop in temperatures, says the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DSPM).
Twelve people were found dead Wednesday in many provinces mostly in the North and Northeast gripped by the cold snap. Two were found dead on Monday in Chainat province, once again as a result of the temperature plunge.
Of the 12 found Wednesday, four were found dead in Udon Thani, two in Chai Nat, and one each in Samut Prakan, Nakhon Ratchasima, Sakon Nakhon, Tak, Prachin Buri and Rayong, according to the department.
Many of the victims were reportedly suffering from chronic or respiratory related diseases at the time the cold weather hit. Some of them were found dead after drinking alcohol.
In Nan, the temperature plunged to below 10C Wednesday and some schools in mountainous areas there were temporarily closed.
Chatchai Taptimon, head of Nan Primary Education Service Office 2, ordered schools to remain closed until Thursday as a precautionary measure.
Students needed to keep warm beside a bonfire at home, he said.
Nan provincial governor Suwat Phromsuwan Wednesday urged people to donate unwanted winter clothes and blankets to a local disaster centre to be given out to the elderly and children living in mountainous areas hit by the cold spell.
Meanwhile, in Nakhon Si Thammarat, five crew members from a fishing boat were rescued Wednesday after their vessels foundered in stormy weather in the Gulf of Thailand on Monday.
Authorities at Nakhon Si Thammarat Disaster Prevention Centre said five crew members from the Ketwichai fishing boat were safe but they looked exhausted and sustained some minor injuries.
They were taken to Tha Sala Hospital for treatment, authorities said.
The crew members were named as Nutthanarong Deebunjong, Panya Deebunjong, Sawang Suthornpop, Kriengsak Panmun and Pattharakorn Meesaeng.
The boat left from Ban Pak Nakorn Pier in Muang district on Monday and headed to Laem Ta Lum Phuk in Pak Phanang district and lost radio contact at 5pm on Monday.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people were evacuated from coastal communities in several southern provinces facing the Gulf of Thailand overnight as large monsoon-driven waves pounded the coastline.
Evacuations took place in Pattani, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Narathiwat provinces.
The Meteorological Department said wind-driven waves and rain were whipped up by a northeastern monsoon, which blew across the Gulf of Thailand and the South. Waves were 2-4 metres high.
Small boats were advised to stay in port.
Powerful waves pounded the shorelines in six districts of Pattani -- Mai Kaen, Muang, Nong Chik, Panare, Sai Buri and Yaring.
Many bungalows in Nong Chik and Yaring were flooded and tourists were moved to safety late on Monday night. The Yaring-Sai Buri road was damaged.
In Nakhon Si Thammarat, seawater flooded coastal communities in Hua Sai, Muang Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pak Phanang, Sichon and Tha Sala districts. About 20 families were evacuated.
Strong waves continued to pound the coast in tambon Tha Phaya and tambon Khanab Nak of Pak Phanang district Wednesday.
Authorities handed out necessities to about 200 affected families. About 20 fishing boats were damaged in Tha Sala district. In Narathiwat, about 120 families were moved to safe ground as waves flooded houses in Muang district late on Monday night.