New York Times: “Thailand Mounts Rescue Effort After Powerful Storms”
The Thai government sent its only aircraft carrier to rescue stranded residents and tourists on Thursday after unseasonable storms inundated six southern provinces and offshore islands, killing at least 17 people and stranding thousands more.
Torrential rains, floods, mudslides and rough seas swamped seaside villages in the past week and trapped local and foreign tourists on islands in the region, a prime resort area. One official said that about a million people had been affected.
Until the rains began to ease Thursday, storms and rising waters had forced the closing of three airports and cut off road and rail links in the region. Islands in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea were inaccessible as ferries were canceled.
Flights were resuming at airports on Thursday, and the weather bureau forecast that the rain would stop this weekend. Flights to the island of Koh Samui were reported to be operating normally and clearing up a backlog of stranded passengers.
Bangkok Post: 1,000 villagers cut off from aid
About 1,000 people in four villages in flood-ravaged Nakhon Si Thammarat province remain completely cut off from rescuers.
Most of the trapped people, who are without aid and electricity, live in hillside areas of Nop Phi Tham district.
Communications have been knocked down, making it impossible to assess the situation. There are reports of mudslides.
The Post also has this story: “Rain, winds abating on Koh Samui”
Rain and wind are easing in Samui, which now faces the challenge of draining flooded streets, fixing damaged infrastructure and restoring confidence among tourists.
Ramnate Chaikwang, mayor of Koh Samui, said 80% of the island is back to normal.
Electricity poles and communication lines are being fixed.
And: “730,000 rai of farms submerged; Related industries, tourism also hard hit”
Farmers will pay a heavy price for the floods now ravaging much of the South, as more than 730,000 rai of agricultural land are already inundated and the affected area is increasing.
Heavy storms, flooding and mudslides have blocked many roads in southern provinces, forcing temporary shutdowns for many seafood exporters that cannot get their products out or receive raw materials.
The tourism industry is also feeling a big pinch, with many hotels and beach resorts, especially in Krabi and Surat Thani provinces, only half full, very unusual for the hot season.
(Image: Bangkok Post.)