1 Apr 2011

Severe flooding deluges southern Thailand

6:00 pm on 1 April 2011

Troops have joined the search for victims of deadly mudslides that have engulfed homes in Thailand, as navy boats continue to rescued hundreds of tourists stuck on holiday islands.

At least 21 people are reported to have died after unseasonably wet weather deluged the homes and businesses of about a million people in what should be one of the hottest months of the year.

Ferries and trains to the region have been cancelled, and several airports are closed. Flights are now landing at Koh Samui, but a backlog is causing long delays.

The navy has evacuated about 1200 stranded tourists from Koh Samui and Koh Tao on an aircraft carrier.

The BBC reports the provinces of Chumphon, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, Trang, Krabi and Phatthalung are the hardest hit. Eighty districts in eight provinces have been declared disaster areas.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade says 185 New Zealand nationals are registered as being in the flooded areas.

The ministry advises travellers to check with their airline or tour operator for the latest information on flight disruptions.