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Storms, high seas rage through wide areas of Southeast Asia

Storms, high seas rage through wide areas of Southeast Asia

High waves lashed beaches and roiled seas on New Year's Eve from Thailand to Indonesia, where hundreds are dead or missing after a ferry sank earlier.
In Thailand, weekend vacationers were warned of waves up to 3 meters (10 feet) high pounding coastal areas on the Gulf of Thailand, the official Thai News Agency said Sunday.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has urged revelers to closely monitor weather forecasts before heading for beaches in the southern part of the gulf, it said.
High waves were reported on beaches in the provinces of Surat Thani and Chumphon, both popular with Thai and foreign tourists.
Rescue workers were patrolling both land and sea areas to help tourists in the event of accidents, the agency said.
Indonesia has borne the worst of Southeast Asia's recent stormy weather, with more than 140 people killed and 13,000 buildings destroyed days ago in flooding on Sumatra island.
On Friday, 5-meter (16-foot) waves sank a passenger ferry off Java island, where about 400 people are still reported missing. A day earlier, a ship went down off Sumatra, killing at least three on board and leaving more than 20 missing.
Indonesian Transport Minister Hatta Radjasa issued a warning to all seaports across the country of seasonal bad weather and high waves after a spate of accidents in recent days.
"It ordered them to monitor the weather, and if needed to seek clarification from the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency before allowing any ship to sail. Otherwise they must postpone the trip for safety reasons," he said.
In neighboring Malaysia, the Meteorological Department warned of waves of up to 4.5 meters (15 feet) high off the eastern coast of peninsular Malaysia, and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo island.
The rough seas were expected to persist until Monday and would be accompanied by strong winds of 50-60 kilometers (31-37 miles) per hour, the department said in a statement.
The conditions were dangerous to all shipping and ferry services, it said.


Updated : 2021-04-19 15:27 GMT+08:00