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Thailand

A man carries a board as he walks through a flooded road near a temple after tropical storm Pabuk hit the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat. (Reuters pic)

BANGKOK: When Bangkok’s oldest university called for ideas for a symbol to mark its centenary year, landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom successfully pitched a design for a park.

It was intended not only as a welcome green space in the middle of the congested city of about 10 million people but as a place that could also retain large amounts of water, reducing monsoon flooding around Chulalongkorn University.

Read more: Bangkok fights floods with thirsty landscaping

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Trees fell and roads flooded but storm appears to have done less damage than feared.

Rain, wind, and surging seawater from a tropical storm have buffeted coastal villages and tourist resorts on southern Thailand’s east coast, knocking down trees and utility poles and flooding roads.

One person was reported dead and another missing after a fishing boat with a crew of six capsized in high waves, but by nightfall it appeared that Tropical Storm Pabuk had caused less damage than feared.

Airlines and boat operators suspended operations for safety reasons and some tourists were forced to change travel plans. Beaches were closed but some bars and restaurants on the popular island of Koh Samui remained open.

Before the storm, more than 6,100 people were evacuated from their homes in four provinces, according to the department of disaster prevention and mitigation.

The meteorological department said the storm had maximum sustained winds of 47mph when it made land shortly after noon. It warned of continuing strong winds and waves 3-5 meters high in the Gulf of Thailand and 2-3metres in the Andaman Sea. It advised all ships to stay ashore on Saturday and warned of possible storm surges on the Gulf coast.

“We can expect heavy rain and downpours, flooding and flash floods in the area throughout the night,” said the department’s director general, Phuwieng Prakhammintara.

Evacuation efforts were especially intense in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, where authorities sent trucks through flooded streets with downed power lines urging people to leave. “You cannot stay here. It’s too dangerous,” officials repeated over loudspeakers.

Read more: Tropical Storm Pabuk buffets Thailand's east coast

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As plans for the planned Thepha coal-fired power plant move forward, women’s groups are joining academics, local community members, and environmental and civil society groups in Pattani Bay, southern Thailand, to oppose the plant’s construction. The group is concerned by the threat that the planned plant poses to the bay’s marine resources, which many community members depend on.

Picture: Pongsit Nopmaneepaisan

Read more: Women Lead Community Response To Coal Plant Development As Fishing Community Faces Massive...

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