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BANGKOK 19 May 2019 19:23
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7 Drown, Hat Yai Declared Disaster Area

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We were lucky. We came back from hatyai on 14 dec 2005. We left hearts there although we are back safe and sound. Our hearts goes out to all who are suffering now. We will be back again.

Flood update: 7 drown, Hat Yai declared disaster area

HAT YAI: -- At least seven more people have drowned in floods in southern Thailand, mostly in Songkhla province, according to reports. Authorities declared Hat Yai district, the largest city in the South, as a disaster-zone.

In all, at least 21 deaths were caused by heavy rains and floods in the South since late November, unofficial figures showed.

Officials said heavy downpours resumed again in Hat Yai and other nearby districts in Songkhla province after midnight and worsened when flash floods from a mountain in Hat Yai overflowed into the district seat along with the water runoff from neighbouring Sadao district and floodwaters from the swollen U-Tapao canal.

Evacuations occurred across Songkhla province. More were expected as the waters continued to rise, according to officials at the Songkhla province Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Centre. At least 40,000 people were ill across nine southern provinces, most of them with influenza, the Public Health Ministry said, adding it had sent 1000 mobile medical units and 100,000 medicine kits to the affected provinces.

Some 200 soldiers from an army camp on the outskirts of Hat Yai were erecting over 100,000 sandbags to reinforce parts of the U-Tapao canal to prevent floodwater from flowing into the district, even as some roads were already 30-50cm under water.

In Yala province, the situation was not better as one woman drowned and another was still missing. Flood at the provincial seat was as high as one metre and even medical emergency vehicles were unable to pass through with doctors and other emergency workers sent out to assist flood victims.

Yala Governor Boonyasit Suwannarat -- after an emergency meeting -- said that water pumps were now operating at full capacity.

Two army helicopters were seen delivering necessities to flood victims while squads of soldiers were repairing public utilities, attempting to restore services.

Governor Boonyasit said flood victims in his province were badly in need of food and drinking water -- that he requested two million bottles of drinking water and 40 tonnes of rice from the Fourth Army Region and the Interior Ministry. He also asked for medicines from the Public Health Ministry.

Buses operate by the state-run Transport Company have temporarily suspended service between Bangkok-Pattani-Sungai Golok as floodwaters between Nong Jik district in Pattani are now as high as 1.50 metres and roads are impassible.

In the latest development, the State Railway of Thailand announced that train services from Bangkok could go as far as Hat Yai only, that it is impossible to journey to Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. Train services etween Hat Yai-Padang Besar and between Sungai Golok-Narathiwat are now temporarily suspended as rail tracks are now under floodwater.

--TNA/Bangkok Post 2005-12-18

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