11 July 2024

At least five people have drowned and more than half a million people are being affected by severe flooding in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

According to Kraisorn Visitwong, the provincial governor, the entire province has been declared a disaster zone, with the worst-hit districts being Muang, Phra Phrom, Chian Yai, Chalerm Phrakiart, Larn Saka, Nop Pitam, Tha Sala and Thung Song.

The five deaths were reported in Nop Pitam, Chalerm Phrakiart, Larn Saka and Chawang. One of the victims has been identified as Wiparat Maikang, who was swept away by strong currents and later found unconscious by rescue workers in bushes. The workers administered CPR at the scene, but could not save her.

In Nop Pitam district, a man was seen clutching to a floating log, as he was being swept along by strong currents, after his car had fallen from a damaged bridge into a canal. He was, however, saved about five kilometres away by rescue workers, who managed to pluck him from the raging waters.

In Thung Song district, which has been inundated for the third day today (Thursday), rescue workers have been evacuating many residents to a temporary evacuation centre, while their men remain at their flooded homes to look after their belongings.

All roads leading to the municipal area are impassable and all schools are heavily flooded and closed.

In addition to Nakhon Si Thammarat, six other southern provinces, namely Surat Thani, Phatthalung, Trang, Songkhla, Pattani and Narathiwat, have also been hit by flash floods caused by heavy monsoon rains.

Army Commander-in-Chief General Narongphan Chitkaewtae has ordered the Fourth Army Region, which has jurisdiction over the southern region, to send troops and relief supplies to help flood victims and support relief efforts by local officials.

Troops have helped evacuate many flood victims, including bed-stricken patients from hospitals in Nakhon Si Thammarat, to temporary evacuation centres set up by provincial administration. Passengers stuck at the provincial airport were also evacuated. Mobile kitchens were also set up at temporary evacuation centres.

Officials predict that the flooding in Nakhon Si Thammarat will ease in the next seven days, as rain continues to fall on the province.

The Meteorological Department, meanwhile, is warning of widespread heavy and isolated very heavy rainfall in 12 southern provinces today and tomorrow, including the seven provinces already flooded,.