23 killed in Thailand flooding, damage estimated at $300 mln
At least 23 people have been killed in widespread flooding in Thailand, with a further one million affected. 
Authorities have declared 10 of the country's 77 provinces disaster zones as the cost of damage caused hit an estimated 300 million US dollars.  
The southeast Asian nation, which is the world's second-biggest exporter of rice, is in the middle of its annual rainy season beginning on July 5, has seen unusually heavy precipitation, authorities said.
The Interior Ministry said that most of the 700,000 hectares of affected areas were rice-growing farmland.
The floods have not affected rice exports but it is too early to assess the damage as the crop can survive short-term inundation, Chookiat Ophaswongse, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, said.
In 2011, widespread flooding killed more than 900 people and caused major industrial disruption, cutting economic growth to just 0.1 percent. 
When Thailand's ruling junta took power in 2014, it proposed a 10-year water management plan to avoid a repeat of the 2011 floods, but this is still under review.
(Source: Reuters)