10/11/2011, 00.00
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Bangkok, fighting against time to contain the monsoon floods

The authorities have ordered the construction of three major barriers to contain flooding from the north. Danger increased by “abnormally” high ocean tides. So far 269 people have died, damage in many countries of South-East Asia. In Cambodia, 100 million dollars damage.
Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thai authorities are fighting against time to save Bangkok from flooding. Volunteers and members of civil protection are building three large barriers with sandbags to contain flood waters. Yesterday the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said there are only "two days" before the arrival of the floodwaters from the north. To make matters worse - experts warn – is the “abnormally” high ocean tide which is contributing to the disaster. Meanwhile, the exceptionally heavy monsoon rains continue to claim damages and victims in other countries of South-East Asia, including Cambodia, Philippines and Vietnam.

The Thai Department of Disaster Prevention has confirmed that so far 269 people have died, most of them by drowning. The monsoon rains - defined as the worst in 50 years - began in late July and have affected around 8.2 million inhabitants, located in 60 of the 77 provinces that comprise the country. 30 provinces are still under water and according to Prime Minister Shinawatra it is "difficult" to predict "the volume of water" that will be reached.

Government sources explain that in order to secure the capital at least 1.5 million sandbags are needed, but 100 thousand are still lacking to complete the three barriers. A first estimate of the widespread damage from the Central Bank of Thailand speaks of loss varying between 1.94 and 2.9 billion dollars (90 billion baht).

The toll of damage and casualties continues to rise in several countries in South-East Asia. The authorities in Manila confirmed 101 deaths from typhoons Nesat and Nalgae; 27 others remain missing for days with little hope of finding them alive. Hanoi says "the worst floods of the last decade" have killed 24 people, most of them children. The worst damage, however, is in Cambodia, where 207 people have died so far. The estimate of damage could exceed 100 million dollars. Almost 450 thousand hectares of crops have been affected or completely destroyed by the monsoons.

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