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Pattaya Daily News

31 March 2011 :: 10:03:31 am 52333

Southern Thailand: Severe Floods And Mudslides

21 people have been killed and thousands of tourists are stranded on Thailand’s southern islands as the results of heavy flooding and mudslides.
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Rubber shipments from Southern Thailand, which is well-known for its rubber-production industry, are likely to be delayed authorities said on Wednesday.

Trains to the region have been cancelled while three airports are shut down, including the major one on Koh Samui island, which is a popular resort island among Thai and tourists. Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani airports have also been closed.

Thailand’s navy force have sent four vessels for rescue including landing craft with on-board helicopters to the rubber-rich region to deliver supplies and rescue tourists as well as villagers in flood stricken areas.

“The army and the navy are working together to help those stranded and evacuate others who live in areas at risk of a mudslide,” Satit Wongnongtoey, a minister in the prime minister’s office reported.

“More rain is expected in the next few days,” the minister continued.

Rubber production in the region is only impacted to a minor extend but the shipment between 1,000 and 1,500 tonnes of smoked rubber sheet could be delayed due to transportation difficulties, industry officials said.

The southern region supplies about 90 percent of the 3.2 million tonnes produced annually in Thailand, the world’s biggest producer and exporter. Hence, rubber shipment could be delayed for several weeks.

“Small producers along the upper south, who need to carry rubber by road to be shipped from Bangkok’s port are facing disruption as roads are cut off,” Prapas Uernontat, secretary general of the Thai Rubber Association said.

However, the impact on rubber production will probably be minimal as farmers stopped tapping trees for rubber in late February in anticipation of normally dry weather at this time of year.

Nearly a million people have been affected by the heavy rainfall across the region.

Mudslides were reported in three areas in Krabi province. At least 10 people died in one village with at least another 10 are missing.

Wiboon Sangruanpong, director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said that it was too soon to assess the full damage of the flood.

Wiboon also warns that mudslides are expected to occur in the next few days.

Report by : Reuters

Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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