- Nearly 500 people are dead in Thailand and Cambodia
- Officials order measures to protect Bangkok
- The region has seen weeks of heavy rain
As the death toll climbed Monday from flooding in Southeast Asia, officials beefed up flood prevention measures to protect Thailand's capital from rising water.
Millions have been affected by the flooding in Thailand and Cambodia, which has been hit by an above-average monsoonal rainy season. As of Monday, 269 people were dead in Thailand and four were missing, according to the country's Flood Relief Operations Command. Another 207 people were dead in Cambodia, according to the country's state-run news agency AKP.
Patients in two hospitals in Thailand's Ayutthaya and Nakhon Sawan provinces had to be evacuated after water reached the first floor, the flood operations command said.
Multiple tropical systems have moved over the area in recent weeks, enhancing monsoon rains and leading to the flooding. Another low pressure system is forecast to move into Southeast Asia on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Brandon Miller, senior meteorologist for CNN International.
On Monday, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ordered canal dredging and reinforcement of flood-prevention embankments to protect Bangkok, state-run news agency MCOT reported. In addition, three new flood-prevention walls were being built at two locations in Rangsit, in northern Bangkok, and in Taling Chan, in the western part of the city.
The government needs another 1.5 million sandbags, MCOT reported. The prime minister called on the private sector to supply them, but said the government will buy all the needed sandbags by Wednesday, the news agency said.
The Rojana Industrial Park has halted operations for the time being, director Amara Charoengitwattanagun told MCOT, and the facility may be further damaged if the flooding worsens. One plant in the park, Single Point Parts, evacuated all workers from the premises and built flood prevention embankments around its building, according to MCOT.
Meanwhile, Honda Thailand said on its website Monday that its plants in the Rojana park are flooded and will be closed until at least until the end of the week.