Fifteen people have died and one million have been affected by flooding in Thailand’s deep south, authorities said today. The monsoon rains that started late last month have inundated eight provinces and hit hundreds of thousands of households, according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department. Fifteen people have drowned, an official at the department’s call centre told AFP. The toll stood at five under a week ago. Some one million residents have been hit in some way: through submerged or damaged homes, disruption to occupations such as farming, or transport difficulties because of flooded roads. The affected areas include Muslim-majority provinces long plagued by violence between the government and insurgents seeking more autonomy.
Wanchai Sakudomchai, the Meteorological Department director-general, said the downpour is expected to taper off in mid-December. “But before that time heavy rains are expected from December 6th to 8th,” he added. Like other countries in the region, Thailand is annually hit by seasonal flooding of varying severity. In July and August more than 20 people were killed in the northeast.