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Weather abates on Koh Samui

April 1, 2011

Rain and wind are easing in Samui, which now faces the challenge of draining flooded streets, fixing damaged infrastructure and restoring confidence among tourists.

Ramnate Chaikwang, mayor of Koh Samui, said 80% of the island is back to normal.

Electricity poles and communication lines are being fixed.

Problems persist, however, in heavily affected areas around Chaweng beach, the centre of tourist activities on the island.

Mr Ramnate said pumps will be deployed to drain floodwater from Chaweng.

“We will be back to normal in a couple of days, once the rain stops,” he added.

Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways International have resumed flights, though some are still delayed.

Raja Ferry picked up passengers at 10am yesterday, but that was its only trip for the day.

The floods revealed problems with infrastructure and services which lacked the capacity to cope.

At the peak of the floods, frustrated passengers at Samui international airport vied to get on the few available flights leaving the island.

Tourists said, however, that they would keep coming back to Samui.

“We feel sorry for Thais trapped in this mess; no electricity, floods everywhere,” said Monika Hofsteller from Switzerland, who has visited Thailand 10 times.

“My bungalow at Chaweng was near the beach. There was wind and waves but no electricity, so it was a bit scary. I moved to another hotel.”

Bannasat Ruangjan, chairman of the tourism association of Koh Samui, who said 13,000 tourists were stranded on the island earlier in the week, said the situation had “returned to normal” and the floodwaters had receded.

But he said roads and water pipes were in need of repair in some places and 30 percent of hotel bookings had been cancelled.

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