NARATHIWAT – According to local authorites at least three people have drowned, more than 80 schools have been closed indefinitely and a large agricultural areas have been destroyed as heavy rains and severe flooding continue in Thailand’s deep southern provinces.
Heavy flooding is still occurring in all 13 districts of Narathiwat province, areas which have been declared disaster zones by the provincial authorities so that initial emergency budget could be allocated to the province to assist flood victims.
Flood levels in five districts, including Narathiwat’s provincial seat, continue rising sharply while a number of roads are impassable for vehicles, officials said. About 80 schools are now closed for the safety of pupils and teachers. The authorities have dispatched flat-bottomed boats to assist hard hit villagers.
Floodwaters more than two metres high have affected at least eight communities living near the banks of the Sungai Kolok River.
Officials said a 14-year-old boy drowned when he went swimming with friends, and a soldier is believed to have drowned when his boat capsized while he was on the way to help flood victims on Wednesday.
In nearby Pattani province, over 500 families living near the Pattani River had to evacuate their valuables to higher ground after water overflowed the banks and inundated nearby houses.
Officials said a child is believed to have drowned in another village in Pattani.
The Meteorological Department office in the southern province of Songkhla has issued a fresh warning that high pressure is still covering upper northern Thailand, causing chilly weather in the region.
The hydromet said storms still cover the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea and this would bring heavy rains to Gulf provinces and high waves in the sea. People living near the shore are asked to stay alert while trawlers are advised to stay ashore for three days from today. – MCOT