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A temple at Tam Kobe packed with villagers forced to flee killer torrents

Hundreds Flee Krabi Valley Torrents as Death Toll Mounts

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
SOLDIERS and volunteer reinforcements were moving to a remote area of Krabi this afternoon as officials assessed the scale of a natural disaster than has left at least 13 people dead, scores injured, and hundreds still missing.

At least 1100 people have been evacuated as hillside torrents and mudslides turn valley villages around mountainous Khao Phanom into death traps.

Witnesses told Phuketwan reporters of seeing homes, vehicles and whole plantations swept away or destroyed beneath raging waters.

We met survivors from two villages who said there were 13 dead, 40 missing and 76 injured from Moo 7 and Moo 2 alone. At least six other villages are believed to have been ravaged by what is an unprecedented natural disaster for this region.

With rain still tumbling, hundreds were fleeing hillsides where run-offs had become raging torrents. At least 600 villagers from around Khao Phanom had been evacuated to Wat Tam Kobe, with another 200 seeking shelter at Wat Kao and 300 more at Huay Nam Kaew.

Troops and volunteer charity and emergency workers from Phuket, Phang Nga and other parts of the region were heading to the rugged area as fast as possible, with heavy rain hampering progress this evening as darkness closed in.

With cellphones useless and the terrain steep and rugged, it is expected to be some time before the full toll and extent of the damage can be assessed.

The day began with Phuket emergency services reporting that as many as 1000 people from eight villages were missing.

It ended with a full assessment of the deaths and damages impossible to make until the torrents and the mudslides stop.

The region where lives remain at risk is inland, well away from the Krabi coast that is popular with Thai and expat tourists at this time of year.

-Additional reporting by Pathomporn Kaenkrachang

Comments

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It is unprecedented in my experience to have realtime reporting of events in the southern Thai media. Good work Phuketwan.

Posted by ssresident on March 30, 2011 21:11

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When already 13 dead confirmed, then there will be a lot more. Last year we SUV-ed around this area. A lot of roads high in the hill and the side downhill of the road cut away to make room for rice (!) farms 10-20m direct down. No concrete wall, no nothing. The hills (even natural parks) full of rubber tree plantages - even that palm tree stuff there, that do not hold back too much rain, not like a jungle.

And today so many people dead. RIP.

Btw. my embassy mailed me this link: http://www.windguru.cz for further informations on rain, wind and waves.
And a second one: http://www.aonangweather.com/
their report: "Until now the rainiest month in Ao Nang had 464 mm of rain. That was in November 2010, also during the current La Ni????a. Yesterday alone had 301 mm! March 2011, a dry season month, will have over 900 mm of rain. We are experiencing a remarkable event."

And more to come.

Posted by Lena on March 31, 2011 01:41

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This weather is strange for this time of year? My heart goes out to these people.

Posted by sheila on March 31, 2011 02:45


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