Woman dies, blackout strikes across resort isle
Bangkok Post 12 October 2010
Flooding and landslides caused by heavy rain have battered the popular tourist island of Koh Chang in Trat, leaving one dead and one injured.
The island was hit by heavy rain from Sunday night until early yesterday. Strong winds knocked down at least 20 high-voltage power poles, resulting in a blackout across the holiday island. Houses and shops near White Sand, Kai Bae and Klong Son beaches were damaged by flash floods and mudslides. White Sand beach, located closest to the island’s ferry pier, is the most badly affected area.
A landslide buried a two-storey building at Little Chang resort near the beach at 3am yesterday, killing Naree Koke, 43, a Cambodian national who worked at the resort. Another Cambodian worker, known only as Rin, who was Naree’s husband, was buried under concrete debris and mud for more than 10 hours before he was pulled out by rescue volunteers. He was conscious but exhausted.
Kampon Chareonkajornkul, head of the rescue team, said officials were unable to provide early help due to the rain and lack of heavy equipment. Mudslides also blocked five sections of the main coastal road near White Sand beach. The worst part was in front of KC Grand Resort and Spa where the road was covered with mud for 100 metres.
Hundreds of local and foreign tourists yesterday faced difficulties leaving the holiday island. They had to walk along the muddy road to catch a charter bus to the ferry pier. However, many regarded the trip as an adventure and took photos of themselves with the mounds of dirt. Officials in Trat were assisted by the navy in rescue and relief efforts.
Parts of the road covered by mud and rubble were expected to be cleared for traffic by yesterday afternoon. The electricity on Koh Chang will be back on today, authorities said. The overnight rainfall was also reported to have triggered flooding and damaged a weir in Laem Ngop district in Trat.
In Rayong, three damaged reservoirs at a private golf course owned by CH Karnchang Public Co in Wang Chan district broke and flooded three villages in the area. The golf course is located on a hill top near Wat Dhammaros in tambon Pa Yoob Nai. Flash floods from the reservoirs devastated the temple and more than 100 houses down the hill. Nuan Chuaklangyai, 46, a nun who lives at Wat Dhammaros, was reported missing in the flood. Local officials and villagers are searching for her. They found her white attire 20 metres from the reservoirs.
Rayong governor Tawatchai Therdpaothai said water volume built up from the overnight rain caused the reservoirs’ embankments to break. An inspection would be made to see if the reservoirs met construction standards, Mr Tawatchai said.