Heavy rain caused flooding in Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan province yesterday, submerging roads under 30-40 cm of water, and marooning tourists who had gone to the popular tourist spot for the long weekend.
The rains, which started on Sunday night, flooded Chat Chai Market and roads leading to the beach.
Police closed a stretch of the Phetkasem highway, from about 5km out from Hua Hin Market to Wat Buddha Chaiyo, as the level of the floodwater rose to 60 cm. Other parts of the road could only be passed by people in four-wheel-drive vehicles.
The flooding affected tourists, especially those from Bangkok looking to return to the capital after the holiday weekend. Broken-down cars could be seen left on the side of the Phetkasem highway, the main road to the South, near Nong Kae village.
Vehicles heading to Bangkok, or to the South, were asked to use the bypass road connecting Pran Buri-Hua Hin-Cha am instead. However, the bypass was also submerged under as much as 20cm of water.
Villages outside Hua Hin such as Khao Takeab, Nong Kae and Ban Mai Hua Na were hit hard by the flooding, which forced some residents to evacuate their homes.
Hua Hin district chief Niphat Chonlawit said his officers had been put on 24-hour alert and told to keep a close eye on the water level in the Pran Buri River amid fears that if the rain persists, there might be a repeat of the flashflooding that hit the district two years ago.
In, Thap Sakae and Bang Saphan districts, the floodwater was 10-50 cm deep.
The Meteorological Depart-ment issued its 20th warning that rain would hit the upper South and the central part of the country, and noted that there could be flash floods in Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces during the next two days.
The flood situation in Chumphon, however, eased yesterday, leaving businesses in the area to count the cost of the downpour. The flooding affected 161 villages in Muang district, where almost 1,200 residents were forced to seek refuge in tents pitched on roads. A further 5,000 residents in 11 villages of Sawi district, 20 villages in Phato district and 19 villages in Tha Sae district were also affected.
The Public Health Ministry sent 2,000 medical sets to Chumphon to stem the possible spread of communicable diseases as a result of the flooding.
Dr Prapas Jindasirinuwat, a health officer in Chumpon, said the office had sent units to tend to people in flooded areas. Most of those in need of treatment were suffering from fungal infections on their feet.
The Prachuap Khiri Khan Health office set up two emergency medical centres at Pranburi and Sam Roi Yod hospitals. Another six mobile medical units were put on standby to provide medical service around the clock.
The director of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, Anucha Mokhawes said he had ordered the department's provincial offices in the South to prepare staff, plus instruments and equipment to help people in case of mudslides, as more rain has been forecast.
"We have to keep an eye on Nakhon Si Thammarat because there are many areas of denuded forest where mudslides might occur," he said, adding that other provinces on the watch list were Phuket, Phang Nga and Yala.
Shortly after the warning was made, a sinkhole developed in Songkhla's Rattaphum district. The site was declared a hazardous area.
Nation 25 October 2005 www.nationmultimedia.com
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