Floods cut off south Thailand
– Overland routes to Thailand’s flood-hit south were severed yesterday after two bridges collapsed following days of torrential rain that has killed at least 25 people, including a five-year-old girl.
The heaviest January rains for three decades have lashed the country’s southern neck for more than a week, affecting 1.1 million people across eleven provinces. The unseasonal downpours have also put a dampener on Thailand’s peak tourist period, prompting cancellations on popular resort islands including Samui and Phangan.
Yesterday morning, the main road heading down Thailand’s southern neck, Highway 4, was closed in Prachuab Kiri Khan province, four hours south of Bangkok after two bridges collapsed, a highways department spokesperson said.
Trains south have also been stopped by the rising floodwaters, increasing demand on already stretched flights to and from the flood-ravaged region. The death toll has crept up over recent days as floods have reached roof-top level in some areas.
A five-year-old girl in Prachuab province became the latest victim when a flash flood hit a van she was travelling in late on Monday.
Relief worker Rawiroj Thammee said: “The girl was swept away ... villagers found her body 200m from the van.”
The region has been battered by what junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha described as the heaviest January rainfall in 30 years. Vast tracts of the south, an agricultural hub of rubber, palm oil and fruit plantations, are under water while floods have caused deaths and damage. – AFP
WASHED AWAY. A bridge damaged by floods at Chai Buri District, Surat Thani province, southern Thailand on Monday.