Airport Remains Close In Southern Thai As Flood Casualties Hit 21
January 09, 2017 22:09 PM
By Mohd Haikal Isa
BANGKOK, 9 Jan (Bernama) -- The number of people killed from flooding in southern Thailand rose to 21 with two remained missing, according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department today.
The flooding since the start of the year as a result of heavy monsoon rain, had affected nearly a million residents living in the 12 provinces in southern Thailand and paralysed transport system.
The airport in Nakorn Si Thammarat, located in one of the worst affected provinces, remains closed since Friday after its runway was inundated with floodwater while train services to the south were also halted.
"The airport would remain closed for flights until Wednesday," according to the airport manager Suksawas Sukhawannon today, adding that parts of runways were still flooded and some of its navigation lights malfunctioned.
The authority had earlier planned to reopen the airport tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Tanasak Pathimaprakorn told reporters after chairing a meeting on tourism sector today that officials would travel to southern Thailand to assess losses suffered by the tourism sector.
Officials had been unable to estimate the losses caused by the disaster to the tourism industry in southern Thailand as the current priority was to save lives and the floodwater had yet to recede.
"We have to help the people first, as the people in the affected areas are key to the tourism industry," he said adding that, tourism industry remained a key pillar to Thailand's economy with 32.59 million tourists visiting the country last year.
This year the government, Tanasak said, had targeted income from the tourism industry to reach Baht2.7 billion (RM1=7.9 Baht) from Baht2.4 billion this year.
Sports and Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanwarangkoon, who attended the meeting said, her ministry had not received any report of cancellation from tourists planning to visit southern Thailand.