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Death toll hits 101 as govt warns against recklessness

Posted by arnon_k On October - 31 - 2010

The number of people who have died in the floods has risen to 101, as the government warns people to be more careful in the water.

Some of the deaths could have been avoided, officials suggested yesterday, as one agency started an inquiry into why so many people have died.

Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanavisit said 90 of the total were found drowned while officials were investigating whether the other 11 died in flood-related incidents.

Chatree Charoencheewakul, secretary-general of the Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand, said most of the deaths were caused by drowning and electric shock. “People should be aware of the dangers of flooding. Many people are careless in the water, despite the fact that they can’t swim.

“Some are careless when using electrical equipment or while fishing in the floods,” he said.

He said most of the deaths were in areas where flooding is rare, such as Nakhon Ratchasima and Lop Buri.

People in such areas may lack swimming skills. “In some cases, an older brother went to the aid of a younger one, a father tried to help his son and they all drowned,” he said.

“This is not a small issue but a national concern. The Disease Control Department and the institute are studying the cause behind the large number of deaths resulting from the floods,” he said.

He said the institute will teach Thais how to swim, particularly children.

Playing in the water, fishing, and messing around while drunk are three of the more unusual causes of drowning which have taken the lives of flood victims.

While most of the 94 deaths recorded by the institute as of Friday are attributed to drowning, the causes in some cases relate to accidents caused by carelessness or having too good a time.

Deaths have been recorded in 20 provinces. In Nakhon Ratchasima, for example, where 18 people have died, three are fishing-related deaths – one person fell off a boat, another fell in the water and a third was drowned after his fishing line got tangled around his leg. Two died after suffering muscle cramps, and one while swimming in a weir.

In Nakhon Sawan, where 12 people have died, four were fishing, one death was drinking related and one victim was electrocuted. One person died while collecting morning glory.

In Lop Buri, 11 people have died, including two people whose car was washed away and a third person who drove his motorcycle into a tree. One person was electrocuted after his house was flooded, and another died in a drinking related accident.

In Ayutthaya, seven have died, including a 50-year-old man who was drinking and gambling, and tried to race across a flooded area with his friends as a dare. He drowned. In Buri Ram, where six people have died, a child fell out of a tree into flood waters, two teens drowned in a weir, two children died in a flooded ricefield, and one person died helping his child. In Nonthaburi, where five people died, two died of electrocution, and one child, aged 2, drowned in a flooded area behind his home.

In Kamphaeng Phet, where four have died, three deaths are related to fishing. One person collapsed and fell in the water. In Saraburi, where four people died, a 59-year-old woman drowned after the boat she was on capsized. In Rayong, where two people have died, a man died while swerving to avoid flood waters. He hit a tree. The other victim died when a flood catchment area in a golf course collapsed.

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