Five dead as flash floods hit southern Thailand


A Buddhist monk paddles a boat down a flooded street in Nakon Si Thammarat province in Thailand, December 3, 2020. Dailynews/via REUTERS

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand on Thursday reported at least five deaths after flash floods caused by monsoon rains hit seven provinces in the country's southern region.

Authorities reported the deaths all took place in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, where television footage showed staff of a hospital piling up sandbags outside an emergency room to fend off water gushing in from the street.

Other images showed people wading or pushing motorcycles through thigh-deep water while some residents, including a Buddhist monk, rowed boats through commercial areas where children played.

The floods started a week ago but had receded by Thursday, according to the interior ministry, having affected more than 255,000 households in seven of the southern provinces.

The impacted region is home to Thailand's major rubber plantations, accounting for the majority of the world's natural rubber supply.

The Rubber Authority of Thailand said on Thursday it will pay affected rubber farmers 3,000 baht ($99.34) if the flood damaged more than 20 rubber trees in their plantations.

(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Martin Petty)

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