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At least 283 people have been killed in Thailand by unseasonably wet weather affecting two million people and forcing more than 40,000 people to flee their homes. Thailand is witnessing the worst flooding in half a century – submerging cities, industrial parks and ancient temples as it comes.
According to Save The Children, an estimate of up to 500,000 young people may have been affected by the disaster while thousands of roads and bridges and hundreds of buildings have been damaged and swathes of land remain swamped by flood waters. The Thai cabinet has allocated 6.13bn Baht to help flood victims.
According to the public health ministry, Nakhon Si Thammarat is the worst affected area where one person is missing. Australian Ben Garden, who flew into Koh Samui for a friend’s wedding on Friday, described the situation as “scary and dire.”
According to Smith Dhamasarojana, a former director-general of Thailand’s Meteorological department, authorities in Thailand did not release enough water from the dams earlier this year because they feared water shortages in the dry season. According to him, authorities miscalculated the amount of rainfall and they also failed to manage the water.
The monsoon season this year has brought disaster to Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam well as Thailand. Thousands of people have been displaced as typhoons have literally battered the country to pieces. Thousands of tourists have been stranded as trains to the region have been canceled and three airports have been shut.
Many Australians are among more than 15,000 tourists trapped on holiday islands after the storms and floods hit southern Thailand. A tourist association spokesman said that about 13,000 tourists have been trapped on Koh Samui alone, and that they have advised tourist to stay in hotels and not to travel to the airport until the situation returns to normal.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who visited the area, ordered the evacuation of everyone living in the region. The Thailand Government said it was deploying its only air craft carrier to rescue 1000 people stranded in the region. Economic toll of these floods can’t be easily valued precisely at the moment, but according to reports, floods have already inundated many industrial parks and manufacturing centers.
In areas where flood water have breached walls of industrial estates, Honda and Toyota industry has been forced to shut down their assembly plants. Economist fear that Thailand’s most severe floods in decades may cost the country up to $5 billion and may reduce its Gross Domestic Product by about one percent.
According to executive director of the Asian preparedness center, Bhichit Rattakul, the flood water may take up to two months to disperse.