Tue, Oct 10, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Floods kill dozens, sicken thousands


Floods in Thailand have killed 39 people and sickened 138,000, many suffering from waterborne bacteria or parasites after wading through waist-deep water, officials said yesterday.

Seven bodies were found Monday in a hill tribe village in the Fang district of northern Chiang Mai Province that was hit by flash floods a day earlier, said the district's top official, Banlue Thepasadin Na Ayuthaya.

He said that authorities are searching for three missing people and that 1,200 villagers have lost their homes.

The fatalities were added to a tally released by the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Center, which said 32 people have been killed by flooding that has struck Thailand intermittently since the month of August.

The center said in a statement that three of the victims had died over the weekend as flooding continued in the aftermath of Typhoon Xangsane.

The Public Health Ministry has warned residents that floodwaters were full of parasitic leeches, human waste and bacteria that could cause skin infections and fungus.

The ministry urged residents to travel through flooded areas by boat or wear long pants tied at the feet with plastic bags if they must wade through flooded zones.

Flooding has hit 43 of Thailand's 76 provinces since August, the height of the rainy season.

Of the flood-hit provinces, 22 remain inundated by heavy rains related to Typhoon Xangsane, which last month killed at least 169 people in Vietnam and the Philippines.

Officials were working to determine the cost of damage from the floods, which have destroyed rice fields and farmland.

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