Thai floods death toll rises to 667
Bangkok - The death toll from Thailand's worst flooding in more than half a century rose to 667 on Thursday, with more than five million people affected by the disaster, officials said.
The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said that in addition to the confirmed fatalities, three people were missing.
In fifteen central provinces, including Bangkok, and six southern provinces homes and factories were still awash with filthy, stagnant water.
With 5 162 319 people affected, the department said Thailand needs to invest about $25.2bn over the next two years to rehabilitate the economy in the wake of the disaster.
The World Bank said on Monday that Thailand sustained $21.3bn in damage and 717 billion baht $23.9bn in lost opportunities due to the floods.
The losses included damage to architectural treasures in the old Siamese capital of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok.
Experts from the Fine Arts Department and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization assessed damage to the ruins this week and found cracks and other water damage to some statues and other structures.
Ayutthaya, which was granted the World Heritage status in 1991, is among the kingdom's prime tourist attractions.
The World Bank lowered its economic growth forecast for Thailand this year to 2.4%, from its pre-flood estimate of 3.6%.
But Thailand could stage a rapid recovery in 2012 with 4% growth in its gross domestic product if investments are made in a massive rehabilitation programme, the World Bank said.