Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thai flood death toll rises to 59; Bangkok escapes damage as defenses hold

Supunnabul Suwannakij in Bloomberg News: Thailand said the death toll from weeks of flooding across 36 provinces rose to 59, as Bangkok escaped major damage after bolstering the city’s defenses. Floods have affected at least 3.2 million people and damaged 3.5 million rai (1.4 million acres) of agricultural land, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said today. Heavy rain may cause flash floods and landslides in 15 southern provinces before the end of the month, the agency said.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who called the floods the worst in 50 years, pledged to give 5,000 baht ($167) to families in the worst-hit areas as part of a 2.9 billion baht special budget. The finance ministry today cut its forecast for economic growth this year to 7.4 percent from 7.6 percent, and said the disaster may cause as much as 20.2 billion baht of damage.

Floodwaters receded in 11 provinces, leaving 25 still inundated, the disaster prevention department said. The death toll since Oct. 10 rose to 59, according to the Emergency Medical Institution of Thailand.

Bangkok experienced only minor flooding along the Chao Phraya river as the city’s 77-kilometer-long flood-protection system held, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration said. Authorities are looking at ways to drain water away from the capital before a period of high tides starts on Nov. 8….

The Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, shot by Swaminathan, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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