The State Railway of Thailand has announced that it will temporarily suspend all north-bound train services after tracks were submerged under floodwaters triggered by the tropical storm Nock-ten, which has since weakened to a low pressure area.
Four express and special express trains scheduled to leave Bangkok for Chiang Mai between 6pm and 10pm had to be cancelled late yesterday.
The cancellations came as water levels had not receded and several sections of track were still submerged.
At 5am yesterday, the track between Ban Pin and Pha Din stations in Lampang was reportedly around 15 centimetres under water, so a free-of-charge Chiang Mai-bound train had to stop further south at Den Chai station in Phrae province.
Passengers on board were asked to make their own travel arrangements after disembarking at Den Chai.
Highways Department director-general Veera Ruangsuksriwong, meanwhile, said floods have inundated roads in Nong Khai, Udon Thani, Bung Kan, Chiang Mai and Phitsanulok.
The department initially estimated the cost of the damage at 80-100 million baht. The most severe damage was on Highway 1230 Chiang Mai and Highway 1234 in Phitsanulok, Mr Veera said.
The Public Health Ministry yesterday set up a working panel tasked with following up on the flood situation and reporting back on a day-to-day basis.
Permanent secretary for public health Paijit Warachit said the agency had prepared 250,000 medical kits for distribution to flood-hit people if needed.
The ministry recently gave 5,000 medical packages to each provincial public health office.
Dr Paijit had instructed health agencies in flood-hit provinces to arrange mobile medical units which offered free health treatment services for people in the flood-hit areas.
He said some health officials were also told to counter possible outbreaks of flood-borne diseases such as leptospirosis, cholera, diarrhoea and typhoid.
Nock-ten weakened to a tropical depression and subsequently to a low pressure area as it moved over Laos and then entered upper Thailand on Sunday, causing incessant rain in vast areas.
Torsak Wanitkhachorn, director-general of the Meteorological Department, said Nock-ten had petered out as of Sunday, with the heavy rains currently being endured in Bangkok, Tak and Mae Hong Son provinces caused by the influence of the seasonal monsoon.
The seasonal monsoon was expected to ease in the next few days, said Mr Torsak.
Outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday called a special cabinet meeting to discuss the effects of Nock-ten.
Mr Abhisit also invited the director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Viboon Sanguanpong to update his cabinet members on the floods, which have now wreaked havoc in several areas of north and northeastern Thailand.
Mr Abhisit yesterday instructed provincial authorities to use emergency budgets for immediate aid to people affected by storm Nock-ten in several provinces.
In Udon Thani, a 41-year-old man identified as Thongluan Yothakul, who lives in Lum Huay Som in Nam Som district, drowned on Sunday night.
Witnesses said Thongluan fell into the river after the bank he was standing on subsided.
No one dared to attempt to save him because of the strong water currents.
In Phrae, overflows from the Yom River have inundated riverside communities and farms in Sung Men district.