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Thai flood toll climbs to 35

world Updated: Apr 04, 2011 13:10 IST
AFP
Bangkok

Flooding across southern Thailand has killed at least 35 people, officials said on Saturday, as unseasonably wet weather deluged the homes and businesses of around two million people.

Victims were either swept into the rising waters or buried in mudslides as the heavy rains inundated homes and washed roads and bridges away in what should be one of the hottest months of the year.

Flood waters, more than two metres deep in some places, have continued to spread despite easing rainfall in recent days, while waterlogged soil has heightened the risk of landslides.

Thousands of people have been forced to move into temporary shelters as the military continued to help evacuate those most at risk on Saturday.

Authorities said the toll had reached 15 in the hardest-hit province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, eight along the coast in Surat Thani, six in Krabi, and two in each of Phatthalung, Chumphon, and Trang provinces.

Mudslides have swamped at least one whole village in Khao Phanom district, Krabi province, and officials said five people are still missing in the area.

Bad weather also caused thousands of tourists to be stranded on islands in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea earlier in the week, but ferry and air links have now resumed to most holiday areas.

Ten provinces are now affected by the flooding, after waters reached Satun and Narathiwat, near the Malaysian border, according to Thailand's department of disaster prevention and mitigation.

More than 100 districts in the ten provinces have now been declared disaster zones and nearly 6,000 people are in temporary shelters after 11 days of floods following evacuation by the government.

Rail access to the region was still halted on Saturday, while the airport at Nakhon Si Thammarat remained closed.