Hundreds of stranded tourists rescued in flood-hit Thailand

April 1st, 2011 - 1:05 am ICT by BNO News  

BANGKOK (BNO NEWS) — Hundreds of stranded tourists were evacuated by the Thai navy on Thursday as the death toll rose to at least 20 in the flood-hit southern Thailand provinces.

According to MCOT Online news, two aircraft carriers rescued more than 1,200 Thai and foreign tourists. The country’s Tourism Authority helped locate accommodation for foreign tourists who cannot fly home at the moment and helped reschedule flights for others.

Thai Airways International and Bangkok Airways flights to Samui Island are again operational, while ferry services have also resumed. 
Special flights are also being offered to collect stranded tourists.

The State Railway of Thailand, however, said southern rail service remained suspended as portions of the tracks were under water or damaged by flooding.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Thursday visited the southern province of Krabi, which was hard hit by mudslide on Wednesday.

 At least five people were killed, while several others were injured or remain missing.

Interior Minister Thaworn Senneam also visited residents, saying money will be allocated to owners of partly or completely destroyed houses and compensation will be provided to the injured and victims’ families.

 The budget to compensate flood victims will be decided by the Cabinet next week but the current number of affected households is estimated at about 250,000.

Satit Wongnongtoey from the prime minister’s office said the flood situation in the South is still worrisome since three villages have been cut from the outside world for about six days. Three helicopters have been sent to help locals but the bad weather obstructed operations.

Thailand’s disaster prevention and mitigation department has declared 80 districts of eight provinces as disaster areas.

Late last year, harsh floods killed over 220 people and caused damages that affected around 8.6 million people in 51 of the kingdom’s 76 provinces.

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