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PM visits, Phuket rescue teams assist in flooded South



PHUKET: Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday visited parts of Krabi where rescue teams from Phuket are assisting victims of devastating mudslides and flooding earlier this week.

The Thai premier, accompanied by high-ranking military staff including Royal Thai Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Prayut Chan-O-Cha, toured a shelter at Wat Tam Kob in Na Khao subdistrict, offering consolation and encouragement to victims staying there.

Sailors stationed at the Royal Thai Navy base in Phuket were among those providing assistance to villagers in Khao Phanom District, where at least four people are confirmed dead and 20 others missing following mudslides in recent days.

The Phuket naval contingent was ordered on the relief mission to the area on Wednesday by Third Naval Area Commander V/Adm Chumnum Atwong.

Seventy personnel took part in the effort, which included transporting telecommunications equipment, a dinghy and other water-rescue equipment aboard two large trucks.

The Third Command has also set up a 24-hour rescue center in Wichit to coordinate the relief effort and designated 076-391590 as an emergency hotline number.

Chaisak Sawangpol, who heads the Krabi Provincial Administration Organization’s (OrBorJor‘s) disaster prevention and mitigation division, said the situation there has improved now that the rain has stopped.

“We are continuing to search for people in the mudslide area at Kok Han Village in Na Khao and are monitoring the situation closely,” he said.

“About one thousand people staying in various shelters need clothes, food and drink, and other basic items to replace those lost to the mudslide,” he said

Mr Chaisak declined to reveal the number of confirmed dead, which the state-run MCOT reported had reached 20 by this morning.

“I’ve heard another area experienced mudslides, but without death or injury,” he said.

“Most districts are now still flooded, same as Khao Phanom,” he said.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) headquarters reported today that thirteen people were killed in floods in eight southern provinces, not including the four who died in the Khao Phanom slide.

The flooding has affected 842,324 people, according the DDPM.

Of the 13 dead, nine were in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, three in Surat Thani and one in Phatthalung.

A village headman in Chaiya District of Surat Thani is listed as missing.

— Atchaa Khamlo


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