Storm Pabuk kills 3; forces over 34,000 to evacuate in Thailand
Bangkok, Jan. 5 (IANS): Tropical Storm Pabuk has killed three people and prompted an evacuation of more than 34,000 villagers in southern Thailand, a senior government official said on Saturday.
Director General of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) Chayaphol Thitisak said one fisherman was killed due to the tropical storm in the sea off Pattani province, while two elderly persons were reportedly killed in Nakhon Si Thammarat province on Friday.
Rescue services said that the fisherman’s body was recovered after his boat capsized, while out of six people on the boat, four others were saved and one was missing.
The storm led to the evacuation of more than 34,000 villagers in several districts of Nakhon Si Thammarat, the DDPM chief was cited as saying by Xinhua news agency.
The storm, that made landfall in southern Thailand on Friday, lost its momentum on Saturday, allowing the resumption of ferry and air transport services. It has now weakened into a depression and moved from the Gulf of Thailand to the Andaman Sea.
Bangkok Airways resumed its services after having cancelled all its operations to Samui island airport since Friday. The airports in Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani also resumed activity around midday.
Eight southern provinces of Thailand were affected by Pabuk, including Chumphorn, Songkhla, Phatthalung, Pattani, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Nakhon Si Thammarat city suffered significant damage as several districts were flooded and buildings were affected. Electrical poles were brought down by strong winds, affecting power supply.
Videos posted on social networks showed islands popular with tourists such as Koh Tao and Koh Samui affected by strong winds, heavy rain and high waves.
With a wind speed of 55 km per hour, Pabuk moved from the Gulf of Thailand to the Andaman Sea, raising strong winds, high tides, heavy rains and flash floods on Saturday, said a statement from the Meteorological Department.
It is feared to devastate Thailand’s famous tourist destinations on the shores of the Andaman Sea such as Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and Ranong provinces.