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Devastation in Southern Thailand: Historic Floods Claim Lives and Challenge Resilience

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As the skies rendered their unyielding deluge, the Southern Thai provinces of Yala, Narathiwat, and Pattani found themselves submerged under a relentless downpour, manifesting into a flood crisis of historic proportions. The once-tranquil streets of Balo village in Raman district transformed into waterways as railway officials rallied to evacuate beleaguered villagers, a snapshot of humanity’s resolve amidst nature’s fury captured in a poignant photograph. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)

The rising tide of calamity has claimed no fewer than 12 souls across this dampened landscape. While Yala and Narathiwat are seeing a glimmer of relief as waters timidly retreat, the predicament in Pattani escalates—its cry for help echoing across swollen rivers and inundated roads.

In the thick of this aquatic assault, Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew stood, receiving grim updates; the numbers spoke of eight lives extinguished in Narathiwat, a trio in Yala, and a solitary soul in Pattani. The merciless floods have shuttered 11 health hubs in Narathiwat, a dozen in Yala, and another 11 in Pattani, severing vital healthcare lifelines.

The Ministry, in its crusade against the deluge, has channeled aid, dispatching a treasure trove of 4,200 first aid kits to those beleaguered by the waters. They’ve crafted sanctuaries from the storm, erecting a network of 43 havens across the provinces, a beacon to nearly 7,000 displaced villagers.

Yet, amidst the turmoil, the State Railway of Thailand perseveres. Though the southern rail artery has been severed at Yala, hope travels on rubber tires, as transit buses shepherd passengers through the perturbed landscapes to Narathiwat.

Pattani remains engulfed in the aquatic embrace of the Pattani and Sai Buri rivers, with torrents besieging the town on Friday. The water, a rapacious visitor, rose with voracity in Muang Pattani municipality. Dreams and livelihoods floated on the water’s surface, captured in the depths as abodes and businesses succumbed to the flood.

Sixty-six mechanical hearts, in the form of pumps, throb along the town’s arteries, a valiant effort to expel the intrusive waters. Yet the rivers, unforgiving in their surge, continue to endow their unwanted gift.

In a haunting echo of history, residents whisper of the waters reaching heights unseen in half a century along the Sai Buri River’s banks, an ominous tide as nature’s course is rerouted from Narathiwat through Pattani towards the unfathomable embrace of the sea.

Authorities, vigilant against tragedy, have sounded a clarion call, urging parents to guard their young from the deceptively playful allure of water’s surface, where currents, unseen but potent, lie in wait.

Mere numbers spell the scope of the disaster in Muang district—six tambons, 14 villages, and 1,767 households besieged, with the plight of 6,603 residents at the mercy of the flood.

The triad of Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala, stand as the fulcrum of this flood’s wrath amongst the five provinces cast into turmoil, a tempest that has left an indelible mark on the lives of 93,220 families across 25 districts. This ordeal, as chronicled by the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, leaves a legacy of resilience against one of nature’s fiercest tests in decades.

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