FLASH FLOOD DEATH TOLL RISES TO 27 IN NORTH-EASTERN THAILAND

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Flash floods in Thailand caused by continued heavy rainfall have killed 27 people and affected almost one million others since July 5, officials said on Friday.

All 27 fatalities, including four since Wednesday, were caused by drowning, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said.

Widespread floods have submerged 10 provinces, mainly located in Thailand's north-east, with an estimated total loss of 300 million dollars, according to the Interior Ministry.

More than 2,300 square kilometres of rice fields have been damaged

Thailand is the world's second biggest rice exporter after India.

However, it is too early to assess the extent of the impact on Thailand's rice exports, according to the Thai Rice Exporters Association.

Thailand is currently in monsoon season, with heavy rainfalls forecast for the rest of the week.

Flooding was exacerbated after Thailand was hit by Tropical Storm Sonca, which originated in the upper South China Sea in late July, the meteorological department said.

The hardest hit area is the north-eastern province of Sakhon Nakhon, 650 kilometres from Bangkok.

More than 100 schools in the province have been shut since last week.

Among the flooded provinces is the historic central city of Ayutthaya, popular among tourists for its many ancient Buddhist temples.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK