HAT YAI, Nov 2 -- Heavy rains from the tropical depression currently in the Gulf of Thailand have brought heavy flooding to Hat Yai in Songkhla province, the main commercial district in Thailand's South.
The city is cut off, isolated from other parts of the region as rising floodwaters pour into the city, stalling all business and sending residents scrambling for assistance.
Hat Yai mayor Prai Pattano said floodwaters cover 80 per cent of the district, affecting more than 30,000 households, with an estimated 10,000 people stranded in the city centre, and the water keeps rising, with the waters in some areas reached car roofs and the second floor of commercial buildings.
He said the surrounding areas were also affected with no electricity and pipe water while all roads heading to the city centre were cut off by the flood.
One resident of Tha Kian community died from flood-related electrocution.
U-Tapao canal in Hat Yai is rising continously and the Sadao reservoir could not absorb the high volume of water. Elders and children were evacuated to Wat Korhong municipality school.
Hat Yai district is the commercial centre and main tourist town in the South.
Acting Hat Yai Hospital director Dr Surachai Lamlertkittikul said the water is rising around the hospital even though the rain stopped five hours earlier. The hospital has evacuated patients from the ground floor to its fifth floor.
He said the hospital currently has 559 patients and 662 family members excluding staff and medical doctors.
Four hundred students of Hatyaiwittayakarn School are reportedly stranded at their school in the wake of incessant heavy rain and flooding since Monday.
Meanwhile, rain was reported in all 13 districts of Narathiwat as heavy rain in the province for four consecutive days caused the three main rivers -- the Sungai Kolok, the Bang Nara, and the Sai Buri -- to overflow, flooding residents along the rivers in nine districts.
Main roads were inundated forcing more than 10 schools to close indefinitely.
Songkhla on Monday declared ten districts as disaster zones as continued heavy rain triggered widespread floods in the province.
The Meteorological Department, meanwhile, issued warning of tropical depression in Gulf of Thailand.
In its statement this morning, the department said the tropical depression centered over Trang, southern Thailand with sustained winds of about 50 km/hr. It is now moving west at a speed of 15 km/hr to cover Krabi and Phuket and through the Andaman Sea Tuesday morning. Widespread torrential rain is likely over much of the south from Surat Thani southward with waves of 3-5 metres.
People in risky areas along hill slopes near waterways and in the lowlands should beware of severe weather and possible flash flooding. Residents along the eastern South Coast should beware of force wind and high surge inshore. All ships in the Gulf keep ashore over this period.
For the next 3-4 days, the ridge of intense high pressure from China will still cover Thailand. Cool and cold weather with strong winds are likely in upper part of the country while the minimum temperature in the upper North and Northeast reaches 12-16 degrees Celsius and on mountaintops at 6-12 degrees Celsius. (MCOT online news)