Rain brings fresh misery to flood-hit Thai south

2 min

Bangkok (AFP)

Swathes of southern Thailand remained submerged Monday as fresh rain deepened misery in the flood-stricken zone, prompting a scramble to pump water from the worst-hit areas.

Twenty-one people have been killed and nearly one million people affected by floods after days of unexpected rain across the country's southern neck, disaster relief officials said.

Downpours and flash floods have also disrupted holidays on tourist islands including Samui and Phangan, disappointing tens of thousands of visitors hunting Thailand's peak season sun.

Despite the end of the monsoon season weeks ago, there were no immediate signs of respite for the flood-battered region.

The Thai Meteorological Department warned of continuing "heavy rains which may cause flash floods" across 10 southern provinces, while the army intensified relief efforts.

Thailand's junta has deployed boats with special pumping equipment to Nakhon Si Thammarat province, which has seen floods reach rooftops in some areas, causing deaths and extensive damage to property.

"We are sorry for the families who have lost their loved ones," Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters.

"The government and army will help as much as we can."

Television images showed villagers wading through muddy water in remote flooded hamlets.

In areas where the water had receded, locals slopped out mud from their homes and surveyed broken roads, bridges and ruined farmland.

Thailand's south is heavily reliant on tourism and agriculture, including rubber, fruit and palm oil plantations, and the floods will likely have a significant economic impact.

Across the border in Malaysia, floods eased significantly, with only about 1,000 residents seeking shelter at relief centres in the states of Kelantan and Terengganu late Sunday.