15 Nakhon Si Thammarat districts declared disaster zones

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NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, Jan 6 – Thailand’s southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat declared one more district as disaster zone, raising the total number of flood-hit districts to 15, with cost of damages in the new round of flooding estimated at Bt120 million (US$4 million).

Jetsada Wattananurak, a provincial disaster services official, reported that 15 districts have been declared disaster areas since the province was hit by the first flooding of the year on New Year’s Day.

Over 323,000 residents were affected, 11 homes were destroyed and several dozen were partly damaged.

Mr Jetsada added 124,681 rai (about 50,000 acres) of farmland, 822 roads, 100 bridges, five temples and schools were flooded, with damages estimated at Bt 120million and another survey is now being conducted.

The official said the flood situation is improving as 80 per cent of floodwater in the municipality receded.

Meanwhile, army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said three southern provinces were still inundated although the overall situation in the region has now eased.

The three provinces, according to Gen Prayuth, are Chumphon, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat but he noted that the level of floodwater in the provinces keeps decreasing.

Gen Prayuth said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra instructed the defence ministry and the armed forces to provide help to flood victims and that the army has done its best. The army chief added he assigned deputy army chief Gen Dapong Rattanasuwan and the army’s Engineer Department commander to visit Nakhon Si Thammarat to assess the flood situation and help needed.

“Flood prevention in the southern region needs a long-term plan in parallel with the government’s plan, including land erosion which is a major problem,” Gen Prayuth noted. “All parties need to work together in forest conservation as there is increasing forest encroachment and deforestation.