PHUKET: Residents in three Phuket villages were fighting to clear floodwaters from their homes this afternoon as the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation intensified its warning that continuing downpours could trigger landslips and slides.
In the worst natural calamity since the 2004 tsunami, a total of 1590 Phuket families in 37 villages were forced from their homes by floods between Thursday and Saturday.
Thousands of rained-in tourists have also been affected, with constant storms and long power outages at resorts in Surin between 3pm yesterday and 2am this morning not encouraging the contented, relaxing feeling that Phuket beach holidays usually induce.
As with the 2004 tsunami, many people not in the devastated areas on Phuket went about their business as usual, unaffected except by the rain.
Others were not so fortunate, with floods cutting roads and damaging houses in Patong, Kamala, Chalong, Thepkasattri, Srisunthorn and parts of Phuket City.
Today the Director of Phuket's Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, San Janthawong, fears that with heavy rains now forecast through until Monday, the danger of landslips and slides increases.
''All local councils are on emergency alert,'' he said today. ''I'm particularly concerned about hillside construction sites.''
Bad weather continues to be forecast for Phuket and 20 other provinces, including Ranong, Phang Nga, Krabi, Satun and Trang. Small boats are advised not to put to sea because strong winds and high waves are predicted.
DDPM statistics show that with 37 villages affected and three still dealing with flooding today, emergency workers evacuated 500 families from Patong, 350 from Chalong, 250 from Rassada and 300 from Thepkasattri.
Only one landslip has been recorded so far.