Thailand flooding kills 61

April 8, 2011 at 5:48 PM

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, Thailand, April 8 (UPI) -- Floods and mudslides in southern Thailand have killed 61 and sickened 80,000 with numbers increasing as waters recede, the country's health minister said.

Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanavisit said Friday 46 of the victims died by drowning, eight in mudslides and two were electrocuted. Three people were swept away by floodwaters and two died in flood-related accidents, the Bangkok Post reported.

Jurin said almost 81,000 people have flood-related illnesses from colds and foot fungus to post-traumatic stress disorder or thoughts of suicide.

The Post reported medical teams dispensed stress-relief pills to 223 patients whose conditions will be monitored for improvement. If warranted, they will be referred for psychiatric treatment by Thailand's Mental Health Department.

The Health Ministry has dispatched personnel to the regions of Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani to educate them on ways to protect themselves from flood-related diseases such as dengue fever, leptospirosis, diarrhea, malaria and conjunctivitis.

The flooding affecting eight southern provinces was precipitated by incessant storms beginning in late March and continuing into April.

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