U.S. Water News Online
BANGKOK, Thailand — Floods in Thailand have killed 14 people and sickened more than 53,000 others, including many who contracted waterborne ailments after wading through floodwaters, the government said Saturday.
The 14 people were swept away by flash floods that hit 36 of Thailand's 76 provinces over the past nine days, the Ministry of Public Health said.
It warned residents that floodwaters were full of parasitic leeches, human waste and bacteria that can cause skin infections and fungus.
The ministry said 53,946 people were sickened, with 35 percent suffering from skin funguses and 27 percent from cold and respiratory problems. Others suffered from diarrhea, it said.
"We urge that people travel through flooded areas by boat or wear long pants tied at the feet with plastic bags if they must wade through flood water," Prat Boonyawongwiroj, permanent secretary for public health, said in a statement.
Officials were calculating the damage from the floods, which destroyed farmland and inundated villages, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Center said.
Heavy downpours in northern and northeastern Thailand at the height of the rainy season caused rivers to swell, Water Resources Department Director-General Siripong Hungspreuk said.
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