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Flooding Continues in ThailandOctober 21, 2011 By: Josey Bartlett
More than 300 people were killed by the flooding and government officials estimate another 9 million people are affected. The United States has given 3 million Thai baht, or about $100,000, to the Thai Red Cross Society and 15 million Thai baht through the International Organization for Migration (IOM), according to a press release from the US Embassy of Thailand. The money will pay for water pumps, generators, water purification units, boats, motors and life vests.
Hundreds of factories have also shut their doors, leaving at least 100,000 people out of work, according to Thai government officials. Also, 10 percent of the county’s rice fields were damaged as well. Some estimates say damages could total more than $2 billion, reported CNN.
Bangkok officials are acting proactively to mitigate further damange or loss of life. The city opened floodgates to relieve pressure and divert water through canals in Bangkok, reported CNN. This will create additional flooding in parts of the city and surrounding suburbs, but will hopefully expedite the water’s trip out to sea. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said they are choosing areas with small populations, reported CNN. In the meantime, the Thai army has brought 100 boats to the city to aid with any future rescues.
Tourism accounts for about 7 percent of Thailand’s economy, according to tourism-review.com, which also noted that anti-government protests in 2010 caused many tourists to reconsider their Thai vacation. Flooding could have an impact as well. Nevertheless, as of now a 3.5 meter high flood wall around Thailand’s main international airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, has kept it up and running, according to CNN.