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Thailand wades through worst flooding in decades

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According to the latest weather bureau forecast this evening, there will be widespread rainfall in the Central Plain and Bangkok areas on Wednesday. And a high tide over the weekend is likely to add to the deadly flooding that already hit regions to the north.

Tourism and manufacturing hit hard

Tourism makes up around 6 percent of Thailand's economy, and it took a hit in 2010 due to two months of street-based political unrest in the heart of Bangkok. The floods have inundated the old Siamese capital Ayutthaya, usually a major tourist draw for its temple ruins. And the flooding has forced companies such as Honda and Toyota to suspend operations in Thailand, a major car manufacturing location.

The floods have already been widely-described as the worst in Thailand's modern history, though some of the affected regions are close to riverbanks and on floodplains, so experience flooding from time to time. A 1988 flood killed over 600 people, and in 1995, 231 died in flooding.

Neck-deep water

On Sunday, rescuers evacuated the Ayutthaya hospital after levees gave way, swamping parts of the city in chest and neck deep water. There, Thai Red Cross volunteer Pipath Cheangoi watched military load elderly patients onto big-wheel trucks outside the hospital gates. He told the Monitor that “it is a big shock for Thailand that this town is flooded.”

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