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Thailand is counting the multibillion dollar cost of nationwide flooding that has killed nearly 270 people and may yet cause more havoc as waters threaten to engulf the country's capital. Read more: www.watoday.com.au...
Millions have been affected by the flooding in Thailand and Cambodia, which has been hit by an above-average monsoonal rainy season. As of Monday, 269 people were dead in Thailand and four were missing, according to the country's Flood Relief Operations Command. Another 207 people were dead in Cambodia, according to the country's state-run news agency AKP.
hailand raced on Tuesday to build floodwalls on the outskirts of Bangkok to prevent the worst floods in half a century from inundating parts of the capital later this week when water flowing from the north reaches the low-lying city. At least 269 people have been killed by heavy monsoon rains, floods and mudslides that have battered 27 of Thailand's 77 provinces since late July, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation
assive floods have ravaged vast swathes of Asia's rice bowl, threatening to further drive up food prices and adding to the burden of farmers who are among the region's poorest, experts say. About 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) of paddy fields in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos have been damaged or are at risk from the worst floods to hit the region in years, officials say.
"The whole region will now suffer from rising food prices as potential harvests have now been devastated. The damage is very serious this year and it will be some time before people can resume normal lives," Margareta Wahlstrom, the United Nations chief of disaster reduction, said in a statement.
"We know that there is a lot of water coming down," she said. "The government at the moment is building canals around the city. There are sand bags going up everywhere. They are doing what they can to actually stop the water coming through, but each day it seems to come closer and closer." Mildren said the waters are also continuing to rise in Cambodia, where Phnom Penh is threatened. Across the country 183 people have died since August and almost 100,000 hectares of paddy are damaged or destroyed. Regionwide, she said at least 500 people are dead and millions are affected in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
Recent heavy rains in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos have destroyed or put at risk 3.7 million acres of paddy rice fields, according to Agence France-Press news agency. Thailand, the world's top rice-exporting nation, has lost nearly 1 million hectares (2.4 million acres) of rice — or 10 percent of its annual production, according to Thai government officials.
Meanwhile, Vietnam, the world's No. 2 rice-exporting nation, has been heavily affected by flood waters draining from Laos and Cambodia into Vietnam's Mekong Delta, which accounts for half of the country's rice production. Pakistan, the third-largest rice exporting country, has also been impacted by flooding, with losses estimated at nearly $2 billion.
The UN agency has offered Thailand emergency assistance if requested. Thai weather forecasters say more rains are expected in the coming days and the situation is likely to get worse.
While efforts have been under way to protect Bangkok from being swamped, the minister said he could not confirm if the capital would be safe from floods, and it would depend on rainstorms, the run-off sweeping down from Ayutthaya and the high sea tides.
"It's really quite serious, these are the worst floods in Thailand since 1949," Cochrane said.
A total of more than half a million square kilometers -- an area the size of Spain -- are impacted by the floods in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos!
Unusually heavy monsoon rains have killed at least 283 people, destroyed crops, inundated hundreds of factories and damaged the homes or livelihoods of millions of people in Thailand, according to the latest government figures.
About 110,000 people around the country have sought refuge in shelters. The National Flood Relief Centre said water up to one metre (3.3 feet) deep was expected in Rangsit, Saimai, Lamlukka and Klongluang in Bangkok's northern suburbs, advising people living in one-storey buildings to evacuate.
Epic monsoon rains and typhoons have battered a vast swath of Asia relentlessly this year, killing hundreds of people from the Philippines to India and inflicting billions of dollars in damage over the last four months. Thailand is among the hardest hit; the floods here are the worst in half a century, claiming more than 280 lives since late July.
At least 650 people have died and over eight million people have been affected by floods and typhoons in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines, the UN has said. So far, Thailand and Cambodia are the worst affected and the situation is expected to worsen as more rains, high tides and run-off from the north are predicted over the weekend, Xinhua reported on Friday quoting the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In Thailand, 2.4 million people in 26 provinces remained affected by the floods, and 12 provinces were on high alert for heavy rain and overflowing rivers.
Thailand on Wednesday declared a third of its provinces to be disaster zones, as auto giant Toyota called a halt to work after production was affected by the country's worst flooding in decades. The government's move aims to speed up relief operations, as the floods have left at least 281 people dead and damaged millions of homes and livelihoods in more than two months.
Thailand is a tropical country with monsoon seasons. Annual flooding is even more a part of life than skin-whitening cream, but less so than corruption. Given climate change, deforestation, decades of poor planning and mismanagement, the flood disaster will get progressively worse and worse.
The present disaster will pale compared to the next one. Decades of mismanagement and short-sightedness cannot be blamed on any one government. It requires a collective effort to achieve this level of incompetence. But I can guarantee that in news meetings of every media organisation in the Kingdom over the past weeks, editors have been pulling their hair out over how to report the flooding situation accurately. The problem is the confusion and mixed messages given by the authorities.
"The question in our minds is that we’ve predicted the most catastrophic floods [as a once-in-200-years] event - [and] the catastrophic one is this already," he said, explaining that relief agencies classify the magnitude of natural disasters by the statistical probability that they would occur in a given time frame. "So is this the most catastrophic or are we going to see far worse in the future? And, for me personally, I think the worst is yet to come.”
Thailand is the world's largest exporter of rice – 30% of the global market – and with 1m hectares of rice paddy damaged by floods, its economy is bound to be affected. "The whole region will suffer from the rise in food prices because potential crops have been devastated," said Margareta Wahlstrom, the UN assistant secretary general for disaster risk.
People in Bangkok are panicking, emptying the shelves of supermarkets to buy up bottled water, instant noodles and sardines. They're buying boots and sandbags, and finding alternative parking spaces for their cars.