|Monsoon rains cause flooding in Sarabun, Thailand [Gallo/Getty]|
The devastating floods in Pakistan have overshadowed the fact that many other parts of Asia have also been suffering from too much rainfall over the past few weeks. The list of countries affected is extensive and includes China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and of course India.
Over 250 people have died in the flooding in SE Pakistan and despite the fact that the rain has now eased somewhat, the floodwaters are still reluctant to recede. Run-off from the higher ground will add to the problems for many days to come.
Widespread heavy rain has also hit eastern and northwestern China recently, disrupting transport and tourism. Shangdong Province has suffered for 5 successive days now and the rain is not expected to ease for at least another 3 days. Shaanxi and Huayin have also been submerged by the extensive downpours.
In the case of India, not only has the northwest been badly hit, the eastern state of Orissa has also suffered, as floods caused major destruction, forcing thousands of people to leave their villages and take up refuge in relief camps. More than 65,000 people have been affected by the adverse conditions.
Meanwhile, at least 2,000 houses were damaged in northern and central Vietnam as a result of heavy rains and flooding since the weekend. Six people have been killed in that time.
Similarly, Thailand continues to struggle with this season’s monsoon rains. More than 80 people have died and there are still flood warnings in force across 14 provinces. Some of the dams are at 95% capacity and it is possible that the floodwaters could extend into Bangkok. Media reports suggest that some of the dams could be opened by the Thai government to release the flood waters.
This is creating much cause for concern in neighbouring Cambodia where 4 people have already died as a result of flooding.
Rising floodwaters have already hit four provinces close to the Thai border with another three also under threat. Officials in Phnom Penh are bracing the city against a similar fate with the Tonle Sap and Mekong river currently full to overflowing. The rainy season does extend right through October (which is, on average, the wettest month) so it seems likely that conditions could get worse before they get better.