Image: A monk paddles a boat through flood waters
Sukree Sukplang  /  Reuters
A monk paddles through floodwaters at a temple in Thailand's Lopburi province on Sept. 22
updated 9/30/2008 10:26:26 AM ET 2008-09-30T14:26:26

Floods in Thailand have killed 23 people and sickened more than 230,000 over the past two weeks, including many who contracted waterborne ailments after wading through dirty water, the government said Tuesday.

The 23 people were swept away by flash floods that have afflicted 27 of Thailand's 75 provinces since early September, the Ministry of Public Health said in a statement.

Seven of the 23 victims were elderly people and four were children under 12, said Siripon Kanchana, deputy permanent secretary at the ministry.

Most of those who sought medical treatment suffered from skin funguses, cold symptoms and respiratory problems.

The health ministry warned residents that floodwaters were full of parasitic leeches, human waste and bacteria that can cause skin infections and fungus.

The floods, which destroyed farmland and inundated villages, have caused nearly $8 million in damage, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Center said.

Heavy downpours in northern and northeastern Thailand at the height of the rainy season caused rivers to swell, Water Resources Department Director-General Siripong Hungspreuk said, warning residents in low-lying areas to remain vigilant for flash floods and mudslides.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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