News / Asia

Record Mekong Flooding Threatens Bangkok, Phnom Penh

Thai soldiers pile up sandbags to make a flood barrier in Pathumthani province, central Thailand, Oct. 11, 2011.
Thai soldiers pile up sandbags to make a flood barrier in Pathumthani province, central Thailand, Oct. 11, 2011.

United Nations officials say the capitals of Thailand and Cambodia are at risk as the worst flooding in modern times sweeps through the Mekong Basin.

Kirsten Mildren, spokeswoman for the U.N.'s humanitarian affairs agency, told VOA Tuesday that officials in Bangkok are taking urgent measures as the floodwaters bear down on the city.

"We know that there is a lot of water coming down," she said. "The government at the moment is building canals around the city. There are sand bags going up everywhere. They are doing what they can to actually stop the water coming through, but each day it seems to come closer and closer."

Mildren said the waters are also continuing to rise in Cambodia, where Phnom Penh is threatened. Across the country 183 people have died since August and almost 100,000 hectares of paddy are damaged or destroyed.

Regionwide, she said at least 500 people are dead and millions are affected in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

"You’ve got, you know, 2.5 million people that are affected, and they are probably affected because flood water has gone through their villages, its gone through their rice paddies, schools are closed, so most people are actually displaced, they are in evacuation centers, they are staying with family and friends out of the water."

In the northern Thailand city of Ayutthaya, resident Pathumwan Choichuichai told an Associated Press television crew he is very scared.

"It's never been like this. There's nothing left, no house, no belongings, including clothes, bed and refrigerator and appliances.  Everything is gone," he said.  He has lost his home, his clothes and everything he owns in the flooding.

Mildren says the flooding is the result of an unusual combination of weather events, beginning with a series of typhoons that swept northwestward from the Philippines.

"We’ve had four back-to-back typhoons that went through Philippines, and then that brought along heavy rain which, on top of that, the usual monsoon rain, basically has flooded the Mekong Basin. And that’s brought a whole lot of water all the way down to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. And this is why you see what is being called, you know, some of the worst flooding on record in modern times."

Her agency puts the death toll at 269 in Thailand, 183 in Cambodia, 30 in Laos and 18 in Vietnam, including 16 children.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More