High waves hit Thailand
Southern Thailand ravaged by high waves
BANGKOK, Thailand - High waves hit hundreds of houses, shops and restaurants in Thailand's southern provinces on Sunday, forcing at least 1,000 people to flee their homes and leaving several dozen tourists stranded on an island.
Five meter waves hit three sub-districts in Thailand's southern Chumpon province's Langsuan district at noon, destroying about 200 houses, at least 20 bungalows and some restaurants along the coastline, prompting urgent evacuation of local residents.
The seawater also flooded Hua Lame village in Langsuan district with approximate height of 70 centimeter, forcing people to evacuate to a temple seen as a safe shelter.
According to Preecha Suweeranuwat, chief of Bangmaprao Tambon Administrative Office in Chumpon' Langsuan district, people fled in panic as such an incident has not happened in half a century.
Up to 1,000 people have been affected by the waves as there were three sub-districts in Langsuan district ravaged by high waves.
It was reported that several dozen tourists have been left marooned on Phitak Island in Chumpon province and cannot be connected so far.
Meanwhile, in southern Surat Thani, seaside residents in several villages in seven districts were ravaged by more than three meter-high waves, simultaneously with heavy rainfall. About 300 houses and shops were damaged.
The tide was reportedly unusual in about 30 years. The province has already evacuated local residents to safe areas, with no reports of casualties.
In a related development, two to four meter-high waves struck the coastline of Prachuap Khiri Khan's Hua Hin district, one of the most popular resorts. As many as 20 shops and several fishing boats docked behind a breakwater were damaged.
Khao Takieb village experienced unprecedented high tide. Seawater has flooded houses and roads as deep as 10-30 centimeter within Hua Hin municipality.
Villagers said the weather has fluctuated, as there is normally no strong wind or wave in December. Seawater has not risen to flood the areas for many years.
Chumpon Meteorological Station director-general Decha Sukgaeo said that the intense high pressure from China has moved to cover the southern region, causing rampant rain storms and devastating high waves in the area during Dec. 25-28. Small fishing trawlers should remain onshore, he warned.