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Death toll from floods in Thailand, Malaysia hits 65

November 28, 2000
Web posted at: 6:39 AM HKT (2239 GMT)

BANGKOK, Thailand (Reuters) -- At least 65 people have been killed by torrential rains and floods ravaging southern Thailand and northern Malaysia over the last week, officials said on Monday.

While there was a significant improvement in the flood situation in southern Thailand on Monday, it was worsening in some areas in neighbouring Malaysia, officials said.

At least 54 people have died in southern Thailand, Pachorn Mahantapan, an official at the Rescue Centre in Bangkok, told Reuters. Damage caused by the rain and floods was at least 1.2 billion baht ($27 million), he added.

In Thailand, the rain damaged at least 200 roads, said Prasong Changwong, head of the Thai Highway Department's emergency unit.

The Thai cabinet is scheduled to hear a report on Tuesday on the flood situation in southern Thailand, officials at the Rescue Centre said.

In Malaysia, 3,000 more people were evacuated on Monday in the northern state of Kedah as river levels there continued to rise, Malaysian officials said.

Rains and flooding have claimed 11 lives in Malaysia.

Flights operated by Malaysian Airlines to and from Kedah's capital Alor Setar were cancelled for Monday and Tuesday morning as the runway there remains flooded. It was not known when the flights would be resumed.

The situation in the northern Malaysian states of Kelantan and Terengganu improved, however, Malaysian officials said.

Waters recede in southern Thailand

On Monday, flood waters receded in Thailand's 10 southern provinces, where at least 600,000 people were affected by the heavy rain over the past week.

Thai meteorologists said rains in southern Thailand would continue for the next couple of days, but would not be heavy enough to threaten further flooding.

The waters were fast receding in the key commercial town of Hat Yai, where floods and rain had paralysed life for almost five days. Officials said electricity would be turned on by 1000 GMT in most areas in the rubber producing city with a population of 400,000.

"Tap water will also be back later today," said an official at the rescue centre in Hat Yai.

Prices of consumer goods were rising and a few merchants were hoarding stocks in the flood-hit areas, "but now no shortage of food is seen," said Pachorn at the rescue centre in Bangkok.

Trains to Hat Yai, which were suspended for the past few days, were scheduled to resume from Monday evening, a Hat Yai railway spokeswoman said.

Thai Airways (THAI.BK), which had not suspended its flights to Hat Yai, said people could now commute into town from the airport as the water level had receded.

"All kinds of cars since Sunday evening can move in and out of Hat Yai as the flood waters have receded," Prasong of the Highways Departnemt said.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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