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Polluted water poses disease risk to children in Thailand floods.

THE nationwide death toll from flooding in Thailand last night climbed past 500, as the polluted black water continued its march through parts of the capital.

Floodwaters were also approaching a main road near Bangkok's Mo Chit bus terminal, a major gateway to northern Thailand, but the bus station remained open.

Three months of intense rainfall have fuelled Thailand's worst flooding in half a century, swamping much of the country since July.

On Saturday, charity Save the Children warned thousands of children are at risk of picking up diseases from the floodwaters.

It said rubbish and excrement was floating in Bangkok's unclean floodwaters which children are wading through and playing in.

Assessment teams from the charity also found that running water has been cut off from some areas, including evacuation centres where families have fled. Children are falling ill from diseases such as severe diarrhoea and the charity are concerned thousands more are at risk.

Stephen McDonald, Save the Children's emergency director who is in Bangkok, said: "Families with young children staying at makeshift evacuation centres are facing serious health concerns with little access to clean water.

"One family of 14 we spoke to said that all but one of them has had serious diarrhoea for several days in a row.

"Nai, 19 months old, has such severe diarrhoea that he can no longer walk. I have two young children of my own and I would be heartbroken if they were subject to these conditions."

City spokesman Jate Sopitpongstorn said on Saturday that workers had finished building a massive flood wall in hopes of diverting some of the mass of water still piled up in northern Bangkok. But he said the city would have to rely on its existing drainage system to fight water that was already less than six miles from the central business district.

Since then, floodwaters have begun receding in some of the city's northern provinces, but they have built up around the city, which stands in the way of the water's natural flow south toward the Gulf of Thailand.

The government said 506 people have died in the floods.

So far, authorities have ordered evacuations in eight of Bangkok's 50 districts.

CAPTION(S):

* The polluted black water continued its flow into Bangkok and authorities ordered a spate of new evacuations in the sprawling capital as residents use boats to navigate around their flooded community
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:9THAI
Date:Nov 7, 2011
Words:398
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