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Freak waves batter beaches in the south

SHOPS, HOTELS and extensive sections of two seawalls were badly damaged in Krabi and Phang Nga provinces after severe waves and rainstorms hit Thailand's south-west coast.

On Sunday, high waves pounded the shore at Khao Lak, damaging local business premises at Bang Niang beach. Meanwhile, a 300-metre-long section of seawall on Nopparat Thara beach and parts of a seawall on Tham Phranang beach at Railay Bay in Krabi were hit by bad weather yesterday.

Tourist numbers in Krabi have reportedly shrunk by 20-30 per cent, while visitors have been warned not to swim in the sea and small boats remain moored onshore. Yesterday people continued to repair the damage at Bang Niang beach, while Takua Pa district clerk Damrong Chimthab inspected the cracked seawalls, which have now been strengthened with piles of sandbags.

Krich Sitthibutr, 44, who runs a fish farm at Ban Nai Rai Bay in the district, said the remarkably high tides - said to be the highest of the decade - had caused Bt100,000 in damage to his farm.

Phang Nga disaster prevention official Somkiat Inthonkham said the high waves were a result of the annual monsoon and seasonal high tides - not from an earthquake in the Indian Ocean. To compound the damage from the waves, gusty winds also damaged 100 homes and 20 rai of farmland in Phang Nga, Somkiat said.

In Trang's Sikao district, the three-metre-high waves that hit Pak Meng beach on Friday eased to a height of one-metre. However, authorities in the area said they would continue to monitor the situation for a further two days as tourist businesses by the beach clean up their premises.


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