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Worst Flooding in Decades Swamps Thailand

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Heavy monsoon rains have been drenching Southeast Asia since mid-July, causing mudslides and widespread flooding along the Mekong River. Parts of Thailand are now experiencing the worst floods in half a century, as water inundates villages, historic temples, farms, and factories. At least 281 people have been killed in Thailand, and another 200 in neighboring Cambodia. Rescue workers are scrambling to prevent a humanitarian disaster, and Thailand's prime minister is warning businesses not to use the flooding as an excuse to raise prices. About 8.2 million people in 60 of Thailand's 77 provinces have been affected by the flooding, and economic losses are so far estimated to top $2 billion. Collected here are recent images of the crisis in Thailand as some 10 million residents in Bangkok keep a wary eye on the approaching surge of floodwater, due to reach the capital in a few days. [37 photos]

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Children play in a flooded street in Sena district, Ayutthaya province, about 80 km (50 miles) north of Bangkok, on September 12, 2011. Monsoon rains, storms, floods and mudslides have killed at least 280 people since July, authorities said. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang)
Children play in a flooded street in Sena district, Ayutthaya province, about 80 km (50 miles) north of Bangkok, on September 12, 2011. Monsoon rains, storms, floods and mudslides have killed at least 280 people since July, authorities said. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang)
Rain clouds approach the city center of Thailand's capital Bangkok, on September 23, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) #
Thai motorists travel through a flooded street during a heavy monsoon downpour in Bangkok, on September 3, 2011. Dozens of people have died in northern Thailand over the past few weeks in floods that have also affected over a million people. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images) #
This aerial picture shows an under-construction temple surrounded by floodwater outside the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, on October 11, 2011. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images) #
A "reclining Buddha" inundated with floodwaters on October 10, 2011 at an ancient temple -- one of a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ayutthaya province. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Buddhist monk walks through floodwater on a street at a temple in Ayutthaya province, on October 7, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) #
Buddhist monks are evacuated on a pickup truck on a flooded street in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand on October 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong) #
Rattanaporn, 13, floats along the swollen Yom river near her home on August 23, 2011 in Phinchit, Thailand. (Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) #
Cars sit submerged in floodwater at a Honda car factory outside the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, on October 11, 2011. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images) #
Flooded houses outside Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, on October 11, 2011. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images) #
A vendor sells her wares in her flooded shop in Ayutthaya province, on September 30, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) #
A man rests in a shelter after he was evacuated from the flooded area of Ayutthaya province, on October 9, 2011. (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom) #
A railroad track hangs in mid-air after a flash flood caused by heavy rain swept away the ground in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand, on August 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Wichai Taprieu) #
Thai emergency workers carry the body of a child from a collapsed building on September 12, 2011 in Saraburi, Thailand. (Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) #
Flooded Chaiwattanaram Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok on October 11, 2011. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images) #
An elephant helps people moving their belongings through a flooded area in Ayutthaya province, on October 8, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) #
A disabled man waits for assistance to cross a flooded street in the town of Sena, Thailand, on September 13, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) #
Prisoners sit near the flooded Ayutthaya prison as they wait to be evacuated to another jail north of Bangkok, on October 6, 2011. (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom) #
A soldier looks through the window of a helicopter over a flooded area in Ayutthaya province, on October 10, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) #
An aerial view of a flooded area in Ayutthaya province, on October 10, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) #
A resident in a boat tries to catch relief goods distributed from a helicopter in Ayutthaya province, on October 12, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) #
Residents catch relief goods distributed from a helicopter in Ayutthaya province, on October 12, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) #
An aerial view of a flooded area in Ayutthaya province, on October 12, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) #
Men herd cows through floodwater outside Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, on October 11, 2011. (Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images) #
Villagers ride on a pickup truck past a broken flood barrier in Pathumthani province, central Thailand Tuesday, on October 11, 2011. (AP Photo) #
A Thai soldier carries a Buddhist monk evacuated from a hospital as floods continue to inundate Ayutthaya province, north of the capital Bangkok, on October 10, 2011. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images) #
A dog stands on a car inundated with floodwater in Ayutthaya, Thailand, on October 12, 2011. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images) #
Part of a flooded ancient temple in Ayutthaya province, on October 10, 2011. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images) #
Children swim near houses affected by flooding in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on September 26, 2011. The death toll from flooding in Thailand since mid-July has risen to more than 280, while some 200 people have died in neighboring Cambodia, authorities in the two countries said. (Reuters/Samrang Pring) #
A man rides a motorbike through flooded streets in Ayutthaya province, on October 7, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) #
A man signals for help from a roof of a submerged house in the flooded area of Ayutthaya province, on October 9, 2011. (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom) #
Family members watch TV lifted onto a cabinet to avoid floodwater at their home in Bangkok, Thailand, on October 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit) #
A traffic policeman gestures to a car as he directs traffic along a flooded street in Nonthaburi province on the outskirts of Bangkok, on October 12, 2011. (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom) #
Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (front right) greets people as she visits a flooded area in Nonthaburi province on the outskirts of Bangkok September 18, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) #
A Thai man smokes a cigarette as he sits in the flooded streets on October 10, 2011 in Ayutthaya, Thailand. (Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) #
A Thai Buddhist monk sits with local residents as they cross floodwaters by boat in Ayutthaya, Thailand, on October 12, 2011. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images) #
An aerial view of a flooded area along a river in Nonthaburi province, Thailand, on October 12, 2011. (Reuters/Sukree Sukplang) #

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