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Thailand south declared disaster area as flash floods kill 15


DPA
Bangkok
Most of southern Thailand has been declared a disaster area after flash floods in the region killed 15 people in the past two weeks, officials told dpa on Thursday.
All of the victims drowned, according to Thailand's Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.
Flash floods caused by continuous heavy monsoon rains since late November have affected more than 1.5 million people across nine southern provinces, with some areas reporting floodwater as high as two metres, the department said.
Among the nine provinces is Suratthani, close to the islands Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, which are popular among tourists. But flooding has not affected the islands, officials said.
Water overflow on the runway at Nakhon Si Thammarat International Airport also forced it to close until Friday. Travellers were advised to use Had Yai Airport instead, which is located 200 kilometres away, airport authorities said.
Thailand's Meteorological Department forecast downpours to continue in the southern region until this weekend.

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