BANGKOK (AFP) – The worst floods in decades in Thailand’s rural northeast have killed at least seven people and damaged homes, businesses and swathes of farmland, officials said Tuesday.
In worst-hit Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand’s biggest province, three people died and thousands of homes were flooded along with a hospital, which has been forced to evacuate patients in critical condition.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said twice as much rain had fallen compared with last year in the mountainous province about 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of Bangkok.
“It’s the worst flood in 40 to 50 years in Nakhon Ratchasima,” he said.
Cars were seen submerged in muddy water while rescuers used boats to reach people in distress. Train services were suspended to the region, famous for its national parks.
The authorities warned residents in Bangkok living alongside the Chao Phraya River to brace for rising water levels.
But Abhisit said the authorities in the capital were “well-prepared to handle the situation”.
Nakhon Ratchasima governor Rapee Phongbupakit said 24 of his 32 districts were under water.
“The floods are spreading to more areas in the province and the water levels in town average one metre (yard),” he told AFP by telephone.