Flooding Hits Southern Thailand

Following several days of heavy rains, floods have struck in southern Thailand.

Eight districts in the Songkhla province have been declared disaster zones after floodwaters wrecked homes, cars and fields. The current flooding in the south began on Friday 22 November.

Four districts in the Surat Thani province have also been declared disaster zones, with 4,070 households affected and 41 roads and 21 bridges left damaged or impassable.

At least five people have reportedly died in the floods, the first casualty was an eight-year old boy who was washed away in a flash flood in Surat Thani’s Tha Chana district Saturday afternoon, and whose body was found 100m downstream the next day. Floodwater continued to rise in the downtown area, being measured at 50-70cm.

About 2,000 residents in the Khlong Pha sub-district were cut off when two main roads were flooded. Tha Chana district chief Chumpol Suksai ordered the evacuation of the municipality as the main Khlong Pha reservoir started to overflow, issuing a surge of floodwater.

Several areas in the Muang and Khuan Khanun districts in Phatthalung province, bordering the Songkhla Lake, were under as much as 1.5m of water, affecting more than 50,000 residents.

flood house thailand
Flooded House, Thailand. Photo: flickr.com/photos/vmos/

To the west, in Trang province, three people have died and about 2,500 families have been affected as persistent rain generated run-off from the Bantad mountain range, substantially swelling the Trang River.

Flood levels of more than a metre were reported from Bang Saphan Noi district in the south-central Prachuap Khiri Khan province, after run-off from forests caused by the previous night’s rains inundated the area, causing some 120 homes to be evacuated. Backhoes dredged channels to help drain the excess water into the sea and flat-bottomed boats have been sent to pick up stranded residents in flooded villages.

Residents along the banks of Khlong Chumko and Khlong Bang Son in Chumphon province have been advised to be ready to evacuate as water levels in the canals continued to rise.

The Asian Highway was flooded in parts of Lang Suan and Thung Tako districts, but traffic could still get through, the highway office said.

Meanwhile, State Railway of Thailand governor Prapas Chongsanguan said the railway track between Laem Tanod and Ron Phibun in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province was submerged by water up to 20cm deep, forcing south-bound trains to stop at Thung Song.

On Saturday 23 November, around 10 tourists staying in a resort in Thaha Village, Lan Saka district had to be rescued after being stranded left stranded by floods.

The heavy rainfall has been caused by an active low pressure cell across parts of southern Thailand. This has since moved out towards the Andaman Sea and away from the country (possibly as part of the weather system threatening India over the forthcoming days). http://floodlist.com/asia/cyclone-helen-update Forecasters believe that this will mean the heavy rainfall will ease off, with just a few isolated showers over the next few days.

Sources: Bangkok Post; Xinhua Net