Thailand flood death toll rises to 15

A car is stranded on a road that collapsed due to heavy flooding in the southern Thai district of Songkhla on Nov 30, 2017.
A car is stranded on a road that collapsed due to heavy flooding in the southern Thai district of Songkhla on Nov 30, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (AFP) - Fifteen people have died and one million have been affected by flooding in Thailand's deep south, authorities said Tuesday (Dec 5).

The monsoon rains that started late last month have inundated eight provinces and hit hundreds of thousands of households, according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department.

Fifteen people have drowned, an official at the department's call centre told AFP. The toll stood at five under a week ago.

Some one million residents have been affected, through submerged or damaged homes, disruption to occupations such as farming, or transport difficulties because of flooded roads.

The affected areas include Muslim-majority provinces long plagued by violence between the government and insurgents seeking more autonomy.

Wanchai Sakudomchai, the Meteorological Department director-general, said the downpours are expected to taper off in mid-December.

"But before that time heavy rains are expected from Dec 6 to 8," he added.

Like other countries in the region, Thailand is annually hit by seasonal flooding of varying severity.

In July and August more than 20 people were killed in the northeast.