Heavy rain, floods batter South

HELP ON ITS WAY: Volunteers and officials from the Livestock Department pack supplies for pets and farm animals affected by flooding in the South.

Heavy rain and floods yesterday ravaged many parts of the South, particularly Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phatthalung provinces, affecting many people and damaging homes and farms.

The Meteorological Department on Saturday forecast that 10 southern provinces would be affected by Typhoon Damrey triggering severe rain and strong winds.

The affected provinces are Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Krabi, Trang and Satun.

The department said the typhoon attacked central Vietnam and was moving west at a speed of 30kph with sustained winds of 120kph.

The typhoon is expected to decline to a tropical storm and tropical depression before moving to Cambodia.

The department said a low-pressure cell is covering the lower South. With torrential downpours in some areas, people should be on alert for possible flash floods and strong winds.

Hospitals in the 10 affected provinces were on Saturday told to brace for flash floods resulting from the influence of Typhoon Damrey. Some hospitals have put up sandbags around their premises to block floodwater.

Nakhon Si Thammarat governor Jamroen Thippayapongthada and his officials yesterday travelled to inspect the water situation after heavy rain hit Phrommakhiri district.

They visited Phrom Lok Waterfall and put up posters warning people to beware of flash floods and water runoff during this time.

Heavy rain also battered Muang and Lan Saka districts of Nakhon Si Thammarat. There were reports of floods affecting homes and farms of people in the two districts.

Mr Jamroen said he had ordered his authorities to set up a coordinating centre to prevent and mitigate natural disasters to help people in 23 districts if they were affected by floods, forest runoff and water overflows. He asked people to closely monitor weather forecasts from authorities.

Strong wind waves 1-2 metres high on Saturday hit coastal areas in the Nakhon Si Thammarat districts of Khanom, Sichon, Tha Sala, Pak Phanang and Hua Sai. Fishermen were told to be cautious and to keep small boats ashore.

Several areas of five districts in nearby Phatthalung province were affected by heavy rain on Saturday. The districts were Kong Ra, Pa Bon, Tamot, Sri Nakharin and Sri Banphot. Heavy and continuing rain caused forest runoff from Banthat Mountain Range to hit rubber plantations downstream in the five districts, Phatthalung authorities said.

Phatthalung authorities yesterday issued a warning to residents in the five districts to be prepared for flash floods if the rain does not ease.

In Surat Thani, Thaweesak Thana- dechopol, deputy director-general of the Royal Irrigation Department, yesterday travelled to Chaiya district to survey waterways and assess whether they are prepared to help drain water into the sea if heavy rain occurs.

Narathiwat governor Suraporn Prommoon warned people in all the province‘s 13 districts to be prepared for flash floods. He also said small boats should stay ashore.

Chayaphol Thitisak, director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, said heavy rain from Oct 10 until Saturday — a result of a depression — and discharges from the Chao Phraya Dam and Ubolratana Dam had triggered runoff and overflows in 79 districts of 23 provinces.

Mr Chayaphol said 126,390 households in 79 districts had been affected by flooding from the heavy rain and discharges.

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