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AKIPRESS.COM - Widespread flooding in Thailand's south has killed 21 people, hit rubber production in the region and shut down infrastructure, officials said on Monday, as the military government increased aid to flood-affected areas, reports Reuters.
Thailand's wet season usually ends in late November and heavy rain and flooding are rare in January. Unseasonably heavy rain has hit 12 out of 67 provinces, officials said.
"We have sent soldiers, police and the Ministry of the Interior to ease the situation," Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters.
The death toll from the floods stood at 21 on Monday with more than 330,000 households affected, according to the Department Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.
The department said that the main airport in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat would remain shut for the foreseeable future. A rail route from the Thai capital Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat has also been suspended.
Southern Thailand is a major rubber-producing area and the floods have come at a particularly bad time for farmers, said Uthai Sonlucksub, president of the Natural Rubber Council of Thailand.