[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Deaths as heavy rain hits Thailand
Severe flooding and mudslides in the south has left at least 21 people dead and many tourists stranded on the islands.
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2011 15:21
The flooding has deluged the homes and businesses of around a million people [AFP]

Severe flooding and mudslides in southern Thailand have killed at least 21 people, and stranded thousands of tourists, authorities said on Wednesday.

Deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban said the government had sent its only aircraft carrier to rescue around 1,000 people stuck on Koh Tao island.

"There are roughly one million people affected in many provinces. At first we thought the flood would last a day or two, but now it has already been one week," he told reporters.

Victims were either swept away by the rising waters, or buried in mudslides as the unseasonably wet weather deluged the homes and businesses of around a million people in what should be one of the hottest months of the year.

Residents were left without electricity in many areas as the waters rose, while road, rail and air links to the southern region remain closed.

Tourists stranded

Thousands were stranded on the tourist islands of Koh Samui and Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand as ferries were cancelled in the rough weather.

Bangkok Airways said there were 2,000 people, mostly tourists, stranded on Samui island either at the airport or in hotels after the airline cancelled flights for two days in a row.

Some 800 passengers are also waiting in Bangkok to travel to the island. Bad weather and a power blackout at Samui airport grounded over 50 flights on Monday and Tuesday.

The flooding, which began in southern Thailand a week ago, has killed seven people in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, three along the coast in Surat Thani and one in neighbouring Phatthalung.

In all, 80 districts of eight provinces have been declared disaster areas by Thailand's disaster prevention and mitigation department.

Devastating flooding across Thailand late last year left more than 220 people dead, damaging the homes or livelihoods of an estimated 8.6 million people in 51 of the kingdom's 76 provinces.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Russia is expected to be the main topic of the two-day NATO summit this week in Wales.
In Brussels, NGO staff are being trained to fill the shortfall of field workers in West Africa.
Lawsuit by 6-year-old girl, locked up for a year, reignites debate over indefinite detention of 'boat people'.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Citizens of the tiny African nation say they're increasingly anxious of the fallout after alleged coup.
join our mailing list