Flood woes mount in Thailand's south

Yala has become the latest province in the South to be hit by flash floods, after inundation in neighbouring provinces earlier this week, with two more deaths reported yesterday bringing the total in the region to three.

A 70yearold man drowned in Yala's Muang district and a male aged 17 perished in Nong Chik district after flash floods caused by days of heavy rain submerged 33 villages in five districts, affecting more than 3,205 people in 449 households.

On Thursday, a threeyearold boy drowned in Songkhla's Saba Yoi district, where flash floods swept away a car he was in, according to a local relief agency.

Yala's Raman district saw the highest water levels of 2 metres, forcing the closure of a number of schools. Metrehigh water in a village there left a large number of cattle stranded on a road.

At least nine Southern provinces have been hit by flash floods after several days of heavy rain.

More than 2,500 residents in three flooded districts of Narathiwat have been affected, while the provincial relief agency expressed worries that all 10 remaining districts would also be inundated.

Many communities in urban areas in Muang Sungai Kolok are under high levels of flood water, with the highest levels reaching 2.1 metres, and boats used increasingly in place of cars.

More than 159 small and key roads are impassable, while more than 15,000 rai of farmland and orchards and 45 shrimp and fish farms were flooded.

Tidal waves continued to sweep across the Talum Phuk Peninsula in Nakhon Si Thammarat's Pak Phanang district yesterday. The first waves hit on Thursday, when a storm lashed the area.

The waves felled many coconut trees along a beachfront and eroded sections of beach roads. Electricity has been cut in many flooded areas to prevent electrocution.

Thirty schools in Pattani have closed while 2,000 households been affected after several waterways, including the Pattani River, burst their banks. The floods also submerged 500 homes in Muang district, driving residents to live in tents along a major road.

A large number of people living along a river section evacuated to higher ground after their land was swamped by runoff released from a watergate.

The Weather Department has issued flashflood warnings for Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Patthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Trang and Satun, as further heavy rain and storms are expected in the next few days.

Residents of the east coast of southern Thailand were urged to be wary of high waves in the next few days, a statement said.

Phatthalung was the worst hit of the nine floodaffected Southern provinces, police spokesman MajGeneral Piya Uthayoh said.

Volunteers and relief officials are manning 28 locations at risk of mudslides and landslides in Si Nakharin, Si Banphot and Kong Ra districts, where residents were advised to prepare for evacuation.

A man and his elderly father were rescued from a roadside after their car was hit by a flash flood on a road in Khao Chaison district.

Several districts in Songkhla were named disaster zones as a result of flooding yesterdayFriday.

Soh Hemmakul, chief of the rescue and mitigation office in Songkhla, said Governor Winyu Thongsakul had declared Saba Yoi, Khuan Niang, Rattaphum and Singha Nakhon as disaster zones, as almost every area was under high water.

The inundation has spread, with water levels reaching 5070 centimetres after continuous rain.

Ninetynine families of Lae Bang village were evacuated to a shelter at a school after the flood hit their areas.

Most of Saba Yoi is affected every year by flooding.