NAKHON SI THAMMARAT — Flash floods spanning across five provinces in the south of Thailand have killed at least 24 people, the disaster mitigation department said Monday evening.
Since Nov. 25, the flood has damaged or forced evacuation in more than 282,691 households in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, Trang, Phatthalung, and Songkhla, according to the department. The flood’s extent also eclipsed those of recent decades in some districts. Officials blame heavy monsoon downpours for the disaster.
As water levels began to recede, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday paid a visit to areas still inundated with floodwaters in Nakhon Si Thammarat, where he told locals that he has ordered authorities to expedite the recovery process.
“I love you,” Prayut said to a group of locals at a handicraft center designated as an evacuation center in Chian Yai district. “I’ve been briefed that the flood was caused by heavy rainfall. There was over 900 millimeters of rain over the past seven days, compared to 2,000 millimeters on a yearly average.”
“We know that many people have been affected by the flood. The government will take care of everyone as much as we can,” he went on.
Prayut also said His Majesty the King has donated 10,000 survival kits to flood victims and instructed the government to ask for more if there is not enough aid to be handed out.
“This is what the monarchy does,” Prayut said. “His Majesty has done so many things and helped people on many occasions.”
The hardest-hit province is Nakhon Si Thammarat province, where 18 out of 23 districts are still submerged by floodwaters. Twenty houses were completely destroyed by flood, while 4,028 were partially damaged, vice governor Sompong Makmanee said.
The flood also took two lives in the province’s Pak Phanang district on Saturday. Officials said both victims drowned while riding a vehicle on a flooded road.
Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said the defense ministry will help rebuild damaged houses and infrastructures.
The interior and agriculture ministries will also survey the affected households and farmlands in order to determine the amount of compensation needed to be given out to the victims, he said.
“The mitigation efforts must be integrated,” Anucha said. “We will accelerate the compensation process in accordance with the finance ministry regulations.”
The Thai Meteorological Department warned that more flooding is likely in Surat Thani, Trang and Songkhla, even as water levels in other provinces were gradually subsiding.
The department forecasted that there will be less rain along the Gulf coast starting from Tuesday, but more rain would come for up to 60 percent of the area for the rest of the week.