Thailand floods damage Koh Samui Jewish centre

By Jennifer Lipman, March 29, 2011
Koh Samui has been hit by severe flooding

Koh Samui has been hit by severe flooding

Days of intense rainfall have caused severe damage to a Jewish centre on Thailand's Koh Samui island.

The south of the country has been hit by unseasonably heavy downpours over the last five days, causing flooding and landslides on main roads. Thousands of tourists were left stranded after Koh Samui airport suspended flights and the ferry service to the mainland could not sail.

The Koh Samui Chabad House, which offers Shabbat meals and free internet for the hordes of Israeli and Jewish tourists who visit the tropical island every year, is completely flooded.

Chabad Rabbi Menachem Goldshmid said he was able to save the Torah scrolls before the rain destroyed them. He told "When it started raining yesterday, we took out what we could."

However the rabbi said it was still "impossible" to return home. He said he and the Chabad team were attempting to help stranded backpackers.

This is the second time the centre has been hit by severe flooding in just four months. Damage in November to the house and the adjoining kosher restaurant left Chabad with a nearly £2,000 bill for renovations.

Last updated: 1:39pm, March 29 2011