World

Floods sever land routes to Thailand's south

SURAT THANI:  Overland routes to Thailand's flood-hit south were severed yesterday after two bridges collapsed following days of torrential rain that has killed at least 25 people, including a five-year-old girl.

The heaviest January rains for three decades have lashed the country's southern neck for more than a week, affecting 1.1 million people across 11 provinces.

Yesterday morning, the main road heading down Thailand's southern neck - Highway 4 - was closed in Prachuab Kiri Khan province, four hours south of Bangkok.

"We stopped all vehicles from passing after two bridges collapsed on Highway 4," a highways department spokesman told AFP.

Trains south have also been stopped by the rising floodwaters, increasing demand on already-stretched flights to and from the flood-ravaged region.

The death toll has crept up as floods have reached roof-top level in some areas.

A five-year-old girl in Prachuab province became the latest victim when a flash flood hit a van she was travelling in late Monday.

"Her family climbed to the roof of the van to avoid the water but she fell in with her mother," relief worker Rawiroj Thammee told AFP. "The girl was swept away... villagers found her body 200m from the van on Tuesday."

The monsoon season is usually over by January, when visitors flock to the south's islands and pristine beaches. But the region has been battered by what junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha described as the heaviest January rainfall in 30 years. - AFP

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