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.
Southern Thailand faced more torrential rain after heavy downpours caused at least 15 deaths and forced the Thai navy to help evacuate hundreds of tourists stranded on some of the country’s famous resort islands.
Reuters: “Flooding in Thailand kills 21, strands thousands”
Severe flooding and mudslides in southern Thailand have killed 21 people, stranded thousands of tourists and threatened to delay shipments of rubber in the world’s largest rubber-producing country, authorities said on Wednesday.
Trains to the region have been cancelled and three airports have been shut, including one on the popular island of Koh Samui. As well as Koh Samui, foreign tourists have also been stuck at resorts in Krabi and Koh Phangan.
Bangkok Post: “Krabi mudslides kill 3 villagers; Death toll from southern storms and floods hits 15.”
At least 3 people have been killed and six others are reported missing as mudslides swept away villages and heightened the southern flooding crisis. The overall death toll has risen to at least 15.
Mountain run-off and landslides hit villages in tambon Na Khao in Krabi’s Khao Phanom district yesterday and washed away up to 50 homes, provincial governor Prasit Osathanont said.
Hours after the landslides struck, rescue workers were still sifting through the mud in a desperate search for other victims.
In Samui, hundreds of stranded travellers scrambled for air tickets at Samui International airport, after two planes managed to take off for Bangkok.
Massive landslide destroys 100 households in Khao Phanom district; many still missing; Floods continue to wreak havoc; 710,000 now affected; Satun and Phuket get warning
Days of downpours yesterday triggered a leviathan landslide that swallowed up an entire village of about 100 households in Krabi’s Khao Phanom district, leaving 10 residents reported dead and many more missing.
Today’s Bangkok Post has this item: “Airlines resume flights to flood-hit Samui.”
Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways International have resumed most of their regular services to Koh Samui as stormy weather starts to clear, relieving frustration among passengers.
Bangkok Airways operated 19 flights yesterday to carry about 2,000 passengers off the flood-stricken island.
Thai Airways made three flights to Samui and transported 600 passengers who were stranded on the island after heavy flooding closed the island’s airport.
Bangkok Airways, which operates the largest number of flights through Samui, on Tuesday cancelled all 53 incoming and outgoing flights.
The affected routes by the carrier included Bangkok-Samui, Chiang Mai-Samui, Phuket-Samui, Krabi-Samui, U-tapao-Samui, Hong Kong-Samui and Singapore-Samui.