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Experts warn of more violent waves in Thai eastern coast

BANGKOK, Dec. 27 — The eastern coast of Thailand will likely face three to four more rounds of high and violent waves over the next few months, according to experts.

Waves of up to five meters in height have been lashing many southern provinces on Sunday.

In southern province of Surat Thani's Don Sak district, the high waves swept across the breakwater and damaged the road running along the coastline.

In southern province of Chumphon, about 10 tourists on Sunday were stranded on Pitak Island when waves were too high for them to travel back to the mainland.

Paknam Laungsuan Municipality mayor Winai Anantamek said the waves had already caused more than 20 million baht (about 640,000 U.S. dollars) in damage to local authorities.

In southern province of Songkhla, more than 50 locals on Sunday evacuated to a temple after big waves damaged their seaside homes. Songkhla Governor Krissada Boonraj said relief items were already being given to the affected locals.

In southern province of Ranong, a storm uprooted many trees and caused a power blackout.

"It's the monsoon surge," The Nation quoted the Meteorological Department deputy director-general Somchai Baimuang. "The phenomenon will recur three to four more times before the end of February."

In the wake of threatened ongoing big waves, evacuations were needed in some areas and many locals were panicked about the possibility of a tsunami and storm surge.

At around the same time of 2004, an unprecedented tsunami disaster ravaged six southern provinces of Thailand along with Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India on Dec. 26.

The tsunami in 2004 killed over 230,000 people.

Smith Dhammasaroj, a former chief of the Meteorological Department, reportedly described the high waves in the South as a result of "storm surge" that then triggered even wider panic, The Nation reported.

Smith predicted that the coast was possibly hit by tsunami for years prior to the actual tsunami in 2004. (PNA/Xinhua) RMA/LAM/utb

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