FLASH FLOOD HORROR
Death toll from the floods in Uttaradit reaches 32
Flash flood triggered by days of heavy rain have killed at least 32 people in Uttaradit while hundreds others are still missing in many northern provinces, Dr Boonkrieng Suchaisaengrat, chief of Uttaradit's health office said on Wednesday.
An aerial view of a village in Uttaradit inundated by a flash flood yesterday. More than 30 bodies have been recovered and at least 70 are still missing in mudslides after several days of torrential rain.
Authorities have not yet started searching mission but will do it as soon as water declined.
Uttaradit was so hardest hit by the flood that inundated many provinces in the north including Sukhothai, Phrae, Nan and Lampang.
Meanwhile Saman Pangwatcharakorn, chief of the northern region's disaster prevention and rescue centre said by Tuesday evening, some 40 bodies had already been recovered in Uttaradit and another 40 people were listed as missing, said
Seven more people were killed in Sukhothai province and three in Phrae, he said. The flash floods also caused landslides in the mountainous region. Many of the missing are believed to trapped under tonnes of mud from a landslide that engulfed dozens of houses in Uttaradit's Lablae district.
"The situation is still confused because in several areas the rescue teams have not yet arrived and electricity is cut off in the entire Lablae district," Saman said.
Interior Minister Kongsak Wantana told reporters in Bangkok that the flooding is severe and the death toll is expected to be high.
It is believed that more than 1,500 in the district were trapped on the roofs of their houses or in trees, said Nitipat Pimpiriyakul, chief of the province's disaster centre.
Mountainous Lablae is one of the worst-hit areas because thousands of people there are without food and electricity and rescue teams being sent by boat have so far not reached them. But as many as 50,000 households in Uttaradit, Sukhothai and Phrae are without power.
"The death toll will rise because rescue teams are still unable to get into villages where the landslide hit the houses of villagers," Nitipat said.
Railway service to northern Thailand has been suspended.
Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who resumed his duties on Tuesday after a seven-week leave of absence, was scheduled to inspect the disaster scene on Wednesday.
Dr Boonriang earlier called for rescue workers experienced in handling a large number of bodies, as in the 2004 tsunami disaster, to help keep a record of the bodies.
"About 30 bodies have already been retrieved but we expect to retrieve some 70 more during the next three days," he said on Tuesday.
Bodies were scattered around the province, but continued downpours hampered efforts to reach some hardest-hit areas, he said.