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14 December 2011

Thai flood death toll exceeds 700

A resident wading through floodwater near the Chao Phraya river in Ayutthaya. Photo courtesy: AFP

BANGKOK, December 14, 2011 (AFP) - The death toll from months of flooding in Thailand has risen above 700, although the waters have receded in many parts of the country, the government said Wednesday.

Monsoon rains in the south of the kingdom which began in late November have killed 10 people, in addition to 698 who have perished in central and northern provinces since the crisis began in July, officials said.

The floods, the worst to hit the country in half a century, continue to affect nine of Thailand's 77 provinces. In total 65 provinces have seen flooding this year, the Interior Ministry said.

More than 2,200 homes have been destroyed and almost 100,000 partially damaged, it reported.

The floodwaters crept into Bangkok's suburbs but did not reach the centre of the capital, where defences were bolstered to protect the nation's economic and political heartland.