Troops ordered to help flood-hit southern provinces

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has ordered the three armed forces to dispatch men and equipment to southern provinces hard hit by flooding as the Meteorological Department warned southerners to brace for more rain.

Defence Ministry spokesman Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich said this morning southern-based military units were instructed to keep monitoring weather conditions and flood situations and to be on standby to provide support to local officials when help is needed, especially in the evacuation of children and the elderly from hard-hit areas to safer grounds.

He said the military units were also told to make available heavy equipment in case they are needed for the building of flood walls or in the dredging work to quicken the flow of floodwater out of flood-affected areas.

In Surat Thani province, low-lying areas in seven districts of Tha Chang, Chaiya, Koh Samui, Muang, Kanchanadit, Don Sak and Tha Chana are flooded today, affecting over 3,000 households.

The provincial public disaster prevention and mitigation chief Chamnong Sawatwong saide there are, so far, no casualties yet as authorities concerned are assessing the extent of the damage in order that help would be arranged.

The weather bureau said this morning southern provinces, such as Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, would face more rain as well as heavy rain in some areas as a result of the strong northeastern monsoon which is looming over the southern region and the Gulfof Thailand.

Rough seas with waves as high as two to three metres are reported in the Gulf on the eastern coast and the Andaman sea on the western coast are reported and small boats were warned to not venture out to sea.

Meanwhile, northern and northeastern provinces still remain cold with strong winds, with temperatures in the mountainous areas ranging from 7-15 degrees Celsius as the result of strong high pressure from China.

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