PRIME Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s plane was diverted to Surat Thani after driving rain made it impossible to land in Nakhon Si Thammarat where he was heading to check the conditions in the rain-drenched southern province, the mass-circulation Thai-language daily Thai Rath reported today (Nov. 3).
General Prayut and his team who were traveling on an army jet landed at Wing 7 Air Force Base in Surat Thani’s Phunphin district at 8.24 am after bad weather forced a diversion.
On hand to receive him were Surat Thani Governor Wichwuth Chinto together with Pol. Maj. Gen. Apichart Boonsriroj, the commander of Surat Thani police, and soldiers.
The Prime Minister questioned Wichwuth about the bad weather and preparations to help the people in his province.
Later at 9.10 General Prayut got on to a Toyota van and traveled by road to Nakhon Si Thammarat accompanied by this province’s Governor Charern Thiphongthada and and Secretary-General for the Prime Minister General Wilart Arunsri, a distance of 150 kilometers.
The convoy of 10 vehicles got there via Asia Highway 41.
Meanwhile the Thai Meteorological Department issued warning at 11 am today that typhoon Damrey is due to hit an area 500 kilometers east of Phnom Penh in Cambodia with 120 km/hr sustained winds and is moving westward at a speed of 20 km/hr to the lower Vietnamese coast.
It is expected to reach the Vietnamese coast tomorrow but will decline in strength before leaving Cambodia.
At the same time a low pressure cell covers the Gulf of Thailand and the lower south bringing abundant rain across the South with torrential downpours in many areas.
People in the South are warned to beware of flash floods and strong winds with affected areas being Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun provinces.
Top: Prime Minister Prayut at rain-drenched Wing 7 Air Force Base in Surat Thani. Photos: Thai Rath