Death toll rises to 381 in Thai floods

Story highlights

  • The leading causes of flood-related deaths are drowning and electrocution
  • Already, the flooding has caused an estimated $6 billion in damages
  • Charities working in the country warn about diarrhea, dengue fever and malaria in the coming weeks

The death toll from the worst floods in half a century to hit Thailand continued to climb on Tuesday.

So far, at least 381 people have been killed during months of monsoon rains, according to the country's Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

The ministry of public health said that the leading causes of flood-related deaths are drowning and electrocution.

Bangkok's central business district has avoided major flooding so far, but outlying areas are chest- or waist-deep in water.

Residents could be seen piling their belongings onto boats, which bobbed on flooded streets.

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U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie A. Kenney said Monday that "the worst may be over for central Bangkok," but about 2 million people are still affected by the flooding. The United States has pledged a total of $1.1 million in aid.

Charities working in the country have warned of diseases such as diarrhea, dengue fever and malaria in the coming days and weeks.

    Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has said authorities would speed up the process of draining water into Bangkok's canals and into the sea, raising hopes that water levels in the city could start to sink. However, the government has warned it may take more than a month for the floods to recede.

    Already, the flooding has caused an estimated $6 billion in damages, the Thai finance ministry has said.

    The government has set up more than 1,700 shelters, where more than 113,000 people have taken refuge.

        Thailand's floods

      • More than 10 families share the upper floor of the building in Bangkok.

        Arriving in central Bangkok from the sparkling international airport, a visitor might not know at first glance that much of the city is under water.
      • BANGKOK, THAILAND - OCTOBER 30:  People travel on a truck along a flooded streed near Chao Phraya River on October 30, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand is experiencing the worst flooding in over 50 years which has affected more than nine million people and caused the closure of hundreds of factories in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya and Nonthaburi. Over 370 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

        Have you experienced the problems in Thailand? CNN and iReport want to hear your story. Share your stories, photos and video.
      • BANGKOK, THAILAND - OCTOBER 30:  People commute along a flooded street near Chao Phraya River on October 30, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand is experiencing the worst flooding in over 50 years which has affected more than nine million people and caused the closure of hundreds of factories in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya and Nonthaburi. Over 370 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.  (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)

        Thailand's worst flooding since 1942 threatens to engulf its low-lying capital, with more than a billion cubic meters of runoff expected.
      • Thai buddhist monks walk through floodwaters in Bangkok on October 29, 2011.

        Relief agencies are warning of the risk of water- and insect-borne diseases such as diarrhea, dengue fever and malaria in the coming weeks.
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        Natasha Cheung of World Vision describes the challenges of getting aid to flood victims in Thailand.
      • ex Thailand floods dog rescue_00013830

        The Phuket-based Soi Dog Foundation has rescued hundreds of dogs from the devastating floods that have swamped much of Thailand.