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Thailand issues new weather warnings as rain hampers flood recovery

BANGKOK - Authorities in Thailand issued flash flood warnings for eight southern provinces on Monday ahead of more rain expected this week, with areas in nearly 40 per cent of the country’s provinces still inundated and dealing with flood waters.

The warnings include the resort island of Phuket, where a flash flood on Sunday disrupted local transport and tourism businesses in some areas. Navy personnel in the island’s main town were seen carrying elderly on their backs through streets, knee-deep in brown water.

Heavy rain and tropical storms since last month have caused flooding in 59 of Thailand’s 77 provinces, impacting 450,000 homes, according to the interior ministry.

Floods in north-eastern and central Thailand - key farming regions - have seen 107,200 hectares of agricultural land damaged, the agriculture ministry said last week.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed authorities nationwide to deploy boats and vehicles to help reconnect people cut off by floods and provide assistance where possible.

The cabinet last week has set aside 23 billion baht (S$858 million) budget for assistance and flood rehabilitation.

In neighbouring Malaysia, authorities issued rain warnings for Sabah, Sarawak Labuan on Borneo island owing to the Nesat tropical storm. - REUTERS

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