Thai Death Toll at 244, as Rains, Flooding Wreak Havoc

Posted October 6th, 2011 at 8:00 am (UTC-5)
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The death toll from Thailand's worst flooding in five decades has risen to 244, as torrential rains continue to pound large swaths of Southeast Asia.

United Nations' relief officials in the region say nearly 200 others have died in neighboring Cambodia and Vietnam.

Authorities north of Bangkok evacuated 1,700 prisoners Thursday, after a wall of water 2 meters high inundated a prison at Ayutthaya. Other reports say scores of factories, including a Honda manufacturing plant, are also threatened.

Workers in the same province are seeking to drain and repair a centuries-old temple that was swamped when the Chao Phraya River burst its banks this week.

The deluge, which began in late July, has displaced more than 2 million people in Thailand. Analysts say nearly 10 percent of the country's rice farms have been damaged.

Weather forecasters in Vietnam say flooding in the Mekong Delta should peak by early next week.