Floods Kill 9 in Vietnam, Threaten Thai Capital

Posted October 13th, 2011 at 3:40 am (UTC-5)
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Authorities in Vietnam are reporting nine more deaths in flooding that has swept through the entire Mekong basin, bringing the death total in that country to 43 people, mostly children.

In Thailand, where more than 280 have died, residents were forced to abandon their homes in the central city of Ayutthaya, where a historic temple is inundated. Workers in Bangkok were piling sandbags around buildings and along river banks ahead of expected severe flooding there.

The floods in Vietnam are that country's worst in a decade. Officials say the waters have submerged nearly 70,000 homes, made roads impassible and forced the closure of hundreds of schools.

Bhupinder Tomar, head of the International Federation of the Red Cross operations in Hanoi, told VOA that the country's rice farmers have also been devastated.

Similar losses are being reported in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.

In Ayutthaya, residents carried their belongings through waist-deep water as they headed for the safety of higher ground.

Local resident Boonasa Kongsangbut said the road to his house is completely covered in water.

He said if he did not leave now, he feared no one would be able to rescue him.

Officials say 61 of Thailand's 76 provinces have been hit by the flooding, affecting more than 8 million people.