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23 killed in Thailand’s floods as more storms loom

– Thai authorities said Tuesday that floods have killed more than 20 people and affected areas across the country over the past two weeks, though experts say there doesn’t appear to be the risk of devastation seen in record floods two years ago.

Thirty-two out of 77 provinces have seen flooding since mid-September and 23 people have been killed, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said in its report, adding that 25 provinces still have flooding.

The report said more than 2.8 million people were affected by the floodwater and 15,254 had been evacuated from their homes.

Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said Thailand was not at risk from the remnants of Typhoon Wutip, which reached the northeast on Tuesday. However, he said the country should be ready for other storms.

In 2011, Thailand saw its worst flooding in half a century. More than 800 people were killed and 23,166 square miles of agricultural, industrial and residential lands were devastated. Many of the country’s industrial estates, which export electronic parts, auto parts and hard disk drives, were swamped as were large parts of Bangkok.

Authorities have downplayed concerns of a repeat.

“Thanks to the dredging of the canals and the weather, at this point there is nothing to panic about,” Bangkok Gov. Sukhumbhand Paripatra tweeted Monday night. “Currently the water level in the Chao Phraya River is still low, so there’s nothing to worry.”

Experts also say it is unlikely the capital will see major flooding this year.

“It is not worrisome as the situation is very different from 2011,” said Seree Supratid, the director of a climate and disaster center at Bangkok’s Rangsit University.

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