Thailand battles southern floods

Unseasonal cold and heavy rains have swept through the south of the country

Flooding across the south of Thailand has killed at least 11 people and stranded thousands of tourists.

Police told the BBC that landslides in Krabi have killed two people and left at least 20 people missing.

The airport on the tourist island of Samui has been closed. Koh Tao has also become inaccessible due to heavy seas.

The Thai navy has sent its only aircraft carrier to the area to help rescue people stranded by the unseasonal cold and rain.

Unusual weather in what should be a hot season has seen rainstorms drenching the towns in most of 14 southern provinces.

The provinces of Chumphon, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, Trang, Krabi and Phatthalung have been the hardest hit. Rising floodwaters have hampered relief efforts.

Officials in Krabi said they are checking reports that landslides have buried several villages.

Tourists stuck

Air travel, road and rail links have been flooded and electricity cut to many areas.

“There are roughly one million people affected in many provinces. At first we thought the flood would last a day or two, but now it has already been one week,” deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban told reporters.

With the closure of the Koh Samui airport, Bangkok Airways said about 2,000 mostly foreign tourists were stranded on the island.

Another 800 stuck in Bangkok had been hoping to go to the island for a holiday, before 50 flights were grounded this week.

One tourist, Lucy Pennington from London, said on Twitter that Railay Beach, in Krabi province, was inundated with water.

“Holiday turning into nightmare. Escaped Railay today, everywhere flooding and I don’t know how to get to Bangkok,” she said.

Most of the deaths so far have occurred in Nakhon Si Thammarat province. A total of 80 districts of eight provinces have been declared disaster areas.

Floods late last year in the south of Thailand left more than 200 people dead.

Leave a comment