At least 18 people have lost their lives and more are missing in the flash floods that have hit the southern regions of Thailand in the past couple of days. Almost a million people have been affected by the heavy rains and the deluge that followed them. Many roads have been flooded, farmland is underwater and more than 1500 schools were affected in the region. And the situation is said to persist for the next few days, according to meteorologists.
“The situation is very bad today and tomorrow. It’s still raining heavily,” said Junjuda Pornsri, a meterological official, in front of AFP reporters.
Across the country, military bases were put on alert and soldiers sent to help the people deal with the floods. Those whose life was at risk have been evacuated by the military. One of the most affected regions is the province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, where the government has already sent two helicopters to deliver food and supplies to families trapped in their houses by the flood.
“I was so shocked and scared. I’ve never seen water like this and I also can not swim,” said Ms. Bapha Suthiphanya, a 60-year-old woman who was evacuated by the Government after the waters rose above her house’s roof.
According to the Spokesman of the National Council for Peace and Order Col. Winthai Suvaree, the Royal Thai Army has sent military personnel and relief teams to help residents of 10 southern provinces, who have been affected by recent flooding, as instructed by Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The army is ready to intervene and build temporary dams and levees with the help of the engineering department and also to remove any blockages to water flow to help divert flood waters away from residences.
The heavy rains and the deluge have also affected popular tourist spots in several areas, including on the islands of Samui and Phangan. Many tourists have delayed their flights and are in the impossibility to use the train or the bus services on the mainland because of the meteorological conditions. However, not everyone is willing to let the weather destroy their holiday.
“Some tourists are enjoying the flooding, they’re taking pictures and going swimming,” said Nongyao Jirundorn, a tourism official on Samui island.
The flash floods that hit southern Thailand in the past days have also affected neighboring country of Malaysia. According to specialists, the heavy rains are unusually strong for this time of year in the region, which normally sees a three-month long stretch of relatively dry and cool weather from November through to January.