Countrywide winds, storms, floods batter nation

In the face of rough weather conditions, the Pattaya Sea Rescue Office is cautioning boat operators against bringing in tourists for islandhopping trips. Red flags are now flying around Pattaya Bay.

“A storm is clearly on the way,” an official said.

The Pattaya authority, meanwhile, offered to take tourists, if they wanted, from nearby islands and islets back to the mainland.

The wind along the Pattaya coast was yesterday so strong that operators cleared the beach of parasols and canvas beds.

In Surat Thani, local authorities warned people and tourists on Samui and Pha Ngan islands to beware of possible flash floods and landslides.

Small boats and speedboats also stopped going out to the sea.

Many parts of Surat Thani have been drenched by downpours since Wednesday.

According to the Meteorological Department, low pressure from the weakening Ketsana will result in cloudbursts over many provinces, especially in the Northeast, the East and the Central regions.

Likely to be hit by floods are Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, Phetchabun, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Kanchanaburi, Suphan Buri, Ratchaburi, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Surin, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Sa Kaew, Phetchaburi, Ranong and Phang Nga.

Many provinces are struggling already with floodwater.

In floodhit Ubon Ratchathani, more than 100 families have been evacuated and dozens of troops are helping locals move their belongings to higher ground.

In Si Sa Ket, floodwater levels are also rising fast. At least 10 roads were flooded and many families are moving to evacuation areas.

In Chaiyaphum, floods have not subsided despite the use of pumps roundtheclock. “The town of Chaiyaphum will remain flooded for at least one more week,” senior official Nipon Satitsamitpong said.

Deputy Lampang Governor Suwan Klaosunthorn said the flooding had prompted his provincial government to declare four more tambons disasterhit zones.

These zones now spread over six districts in Lampang – Mueang Lampang, Thoen, Mae Phrik, Mueang Pan, Mae Mo, and Wang Nuea.

“We are delivering assistance to flood victims,” Suwan said.

In Mae Hong Son, floods ravaged hundreds of rai of farmland and disabled many local bridges, forcing locals to make detours to schools or work.

“His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej has heard about the floods and has concerns for his people,” Rajaprajanugroh Foundation’s secretarygeneral Prasong Pitoonkijja said yesterday.

He said His Majesty had instructed the foundation to provide relief for flood victims.

The foundation yesterday gave 2,000 reliefitem bags to 1,500 families in Kamphaeng Phet, and 1,200 to flood victims in Phitsanulok.

The beloved monarch has been receiving treatment at the Bangkokbased Siriraj Hospital since September 19.

“I am so grateful to His Majesty,” said Namkang Numkiang, a 65yearold flood victim. She said she was now praying for His Majesty’s speedy recovery.