5 Oct 2011

200 dead in Thailand floods

At least 224 people are killed in flooding in Thailand caused by a tropical storm and monsoon rain.

Floodwaters are now threatening the 400-year-old Chai Wattanaram Buddhist temple in the ancient city of Ayutthaya, pictured here.

“The water level is now up to 1.5 metres and 150 soldiers are deployed in the area to fix the embankment,” said Wittaya Pewpong, governor of Ayutthaya province.

"the waters are too deep and too swift to risk a journey by foot": Asia Correspondent John Sparks' eyewitness account


The world heritage site is by the Chao Phraya river, whose waters have overflowed in the capital Bangkok, forcing the authorities to reinforce its banks to prevent more serious disruption.

Chiang Mai, which is popular with British tourists, has also been affected.

Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome put the damage to historical sites around the country at at least 100m baht (£2m).

Nearly three million acres of farmland are under water, threatening the country’s rice crop, and the government is warning that more heavy rain is expected in many parts of the country over the next few days.

The government is compensating farmers and other people whose livelihoods have been affected by floods since July.

Cambodia affected

In neighbouring Cambodia, 164 people have died in floods since 13 Aug, more than 215,000 families have been displaced and 120,000 acres of farmland are submerged.