Three people have been killed and 12 others remain missing after their villages were hit by fierce run-off and mudslides in Nam Pat district of Uttaradit, in what was described as the worst disaster to hit the area in a century.
Houses stand precariously after water run-off from the mountains ravaged villages in Nam Pat district of Uttaradit yesterday. BOONNUM KERDKAEWAuthorities said the water run-off occurred about 3am yesterday. It was triggered by a continual heavy downpour which began on Thursday evening.
Trees washed down from the mountains by the run-off slammed into 30 homes in Ban Huay Dua, Ban Ton Khanoon and Ban Huay Kom.
Ban Huay Dua and Ban Ton Khanoon in tambon Nam Phai were hit the hardest.
Fon Thornsaeng, from Ban Ton Khanoon, said the run-off gushed into the homes as villagers ran for their lives.
"Many of us cried for help but there wasn't much anyone could do," she said.
Her two-year-old grandson was pulled from her grasp and swept away by the water. He has not yet been found.
Sanan Maliwong, of the Nam Phai tambon administration organisation, said it was the worst disaster to hit the tambon in 100 years.
The disaster warning system was not working because of a power outage.
"We shouted and fired [gun] shots in the air to warn people," he said.
A woman in her forties was found dead under the debris of a house in Ban Huay Dua yesterday morning.
Public health permanent secretary Paijit Warachit, third from left, manages to stand in the water after the boat that shuttled him to visit flood victims in Bang Ban district of Ayutthaya tipped over. SUNTHORN PONGPAOIn the afternoon, two more bodies, identified as husband and wife Prasit and Prik Indeesri, were retrieved from the same household by rescue workers in Ban Ton Khanoon.
Twelve people were still missing as of last night. The number of injured was not yet known.
Uttaradit governor Yothin Samuttarakhiri said rescue workers, soldiers, police and medics have set up combined emergency units in the devastated villages.
Relief supplies were being delivered by military helicopters, as roads were impassable.
Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit ordered emergency workers to locate the missing within 24 hours.
In Ayutthaya, Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri and permanent secretary for public health Paijit Warachit yesterday failed to convince 75-year-old blind man Phat Khuansomthop to leave his flooded house in Bang Ban district for his own safety.
The man lived alone and insisted on staying despite the first floor of his house being under two metres of water.
Her Majesty the Queen asked Ayutthaya provincial administration about Mr Phat, prompting the officials to try to help him.
While they were leaving the house, however, the boat which Dr Paijit was travelling on with another public health officer and a rower capsized. The three suffered minor injuries and their mobile phones and documents were damaged.
Mr Witthaya said flood conditions have made the presence of snakes more common, and with more people being bitten, the ministry has begun stocking more anti-venom serum.In Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district, 85-year-old Boonchuen Bangbamnet drowned after his tugboat capsized in a whirlpool in the Chao Phraya River in front of Wat Phanan Choeng Worawihan.
His wife Thongsuk, 83, was rescued by members of the public.
In Suphan Buri's Bang Pla Ma district, about 367 families living in the Talat Kao Hong community were yesterday evacuated after their homes were flooded.
The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department issued flood and mudslide warnings to mountain-side residents in Trat and Chanthaburi.