Thailand latest Southeast Asia nation hit hard by floods

Thai residents transport their belongings on a boat along a flooded street in the city of Ayutthaya on October 6.

Story highlights

  • Flooding in Thailand leaves at least 244 dead and 1,215 factories submerged
  • It affects 28 provinces, including 820,000 households in four provinces
  • Doctors in the Philippines are treating thousands forced to evacuate due to floods
  • Laos, Cambodia and other nations also have been impacted
Much of Southeast Asia continued its recovery from heavy rains and extensive flooding Friday, including scores of deaths and extensive damage in Thailand.
The wet weather is not entirely abnormal in the region, which is still in the midst of its wet season. Still, the extent of destruction has been particularly devastating in some locales in recent weeks.
Thai authorities early Friday said that the flooding had left at least 244 people dead, and some 28 provinces have been affected.
More than 820,000 households have been affected in four of the hardest-hit provinces -- Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Chai Nat and Nakhon -- the state-run MCOT news agency reported, quoting the national disaster prevention and mitigation ministry.
An official Thai industrial agency urged factories in Ayutthaya province to shut down through October 11 in order to give it more time to tackle pervasive flooding.
The same MCOT report described the situation at the Rojana Industrial Park, in particular, as "critical." A government industrial ministry said water will continue to rise over a flood prevention dike, causing issues in the park which has 198 factories that employ 90,000 people.
Nationwide, Thai's Labor ministry reported Friday that 1,215 factories in 33 provinces were underwater -- a disaster that affected about 41,000 workers. Almost half of those workers were in Ayutthaya. Moreover, a corrections department official told MCOT that 3,700 inmates in that province had to be evacuated after their prison was submerged under 1.7 meters (6 feet) of water.
Filipinos, meanwhile, are trying to regain their footing after being pummeled by successive typhoons in the span of a week.
Typhoon Nesat -- known locally as Pedring -- claimed 55 lives, and the death toll from Nalgae -- known locally as Quiel -- rose to four earlier this week.
Health and government officials were working fervently to prevent more deaths Friday as they provided medical treatment for people from flood-stricken areas.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona said that 54 medical teams from hospitals in and around Manila have gone to evacuation centers in Bulacan and Pampanga to treat the ill, the state-run Philippine News Agency reported.
About 3,600 patients in evacuation centers had respiratory diseases, such as the flu and pneumonia, while there were about 600 diarrhea cases, said Ona. In addition, five in Bulacan had leptospirosis, a bacterial disease.
Nearby countries were also dealing with the aftermath of severe flooding.
That includes Laos, where the top official in Savannakhet province requested "large amounts of government funding" in 12 of 15 districts, money that could be used to repair irrigation systems and develop anti-flood systems, according to the state-run KPL news agency.
And in Cambodia, Agriculture minister H.E. Chan Saran said that flooding there had affected more than 330,000 hectares (815,000 acres) of rice fields and killed 1,000 working animals in 103 of the nation's 145 districts, the official AKP agency reported Thursday.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered her nation's "deepest condolences" for the families of those who died in Southeast Asia due to the heavy rains and flooding.
"Our embassies in the region are working with local authorities and international organizations to assess how the United States can be of help to countries where the impact of the flooding has been especially devastating," Clinton said in a statement.