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Floods halt air, rail services

Posted by arnon_k On January - 4 - 2012

Some areas under 2m of water, Yala dries out

Heavy rain and flash flooding yesterday continued to wreak havoc in the southern region, especially in Muang municipality of Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Other parts of the South were hit as well, prompting hospital evacuations, halting airline services and forcing train passengers to continue their journeys by bus. But despite some provinces struggling with rising floodwater, levels were receding in the deep South.

In Nakhon Si Thammarat, runoff from Luang and Nun mountains, triggered by steady rain over the past four days, caused unprecedented massive flooding, putting several main roads and residential communities under deep water.

The floodwater in some communities, such as Bo Sap and Ban Tok, ran as high as two metres, forcing locals to resort to using boats to get around.

Authorities were mobilised to assist flood victims and evacuate those who wanted to move to safety.

Bad weather forced the provincial airport authority to suspend all flights, stranding several hundred passengers.

Rail passengers travelling north were advised to board trains at Thung Song station because tracks between Nakhon Si Thammarat station to Thung Song station were submerged.

Those travelling south were asked to disembark at Thung Song station and take buses provided by the rail agency to their destinations.

The floods battered six districts, three of which _ Nop Phi Tham, Tha Sala and Sichon _ have been declared disaster areas. In Tha Sala district, flash flooding breached an earth dyke and hit Tha Sala Hospital. The entire ground floor was inundated, forcing the hospital to suspend all medical services for outpatients except emergency cases.

Twenty patients were moved to Maharaj Hospital, 45 to higher floors and 35 others sent home.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said flash flooding and runoff has hit nine out of the 14 southern provinces with almost 60 districts inundated.

In Chumphon, Lang Suan district was the latest casualty after four districts _ Phato, Lamae, Thung Tako and Sawi _ were inundated earlier.

Run-off flooded Lang Suan Hospital and forced the evacuation of two critically ill patients to Surat Thani.

Hours of steady rainfall yesterday morning flooded both inbound and outbound lanes of a stretch of Asian Highway 41.

The floodwater was 50cm high, making the stretch impassible to all vehicles.

In Phatthalung, several municipal areas were left covered in high levels of floodwater following heavy rainfall.

Phatthalung Hospital was forced to relocate patients and equipment to higher floors and reinforce a dyke to keep the floodwater out.

However, the floods subsided in several provinces, providing respite for residents and businesses.

Yesterday, Yala was improving and authorities expected the situation to return to normal in a couple of days.

Earlier, floods ravaged six Yala districts affecting almost 52,000 people.

It also claimed the life of nine-year-old Sareeta Sa-u, who drowned.

Governor of Narathiwat province Apinant Suethanuwong said yesterday authorities were inspecting damage in 11 flood-hit districts to ask the central government for help with rehabilitation and repairs. He said the damage assessment should be completed within a week and urged residents to be prepared for future flooding.

Authorities yesterday handed out flood relief supplies from Their Majesties the King and Queen to seven flood-hit residents in Narathiwat’s Rueso district.

The victims’ houses were swept away in runoff.

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