Thai rescuers battle floodwaters to reach dozens stranded in homes

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Rescuers in northeastern Thailand waded through fast-flowing floods to rescue dozens of people stranded in their homes on Wednesday, as authorities tried to drain away waters and get more help to victims.

At least seven people have died and another is missing in floods over the last week that have affected almost 200,000 households in 30 provinces in the lower north and northeastern Thailand.

Rescuers wearing orange helmets and lifejackets travelled by boats through submerged streets in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum to reach people stuck on the roofs of their homes.

Video posted on social media by the Hook 31 private rescue team showed them wading carefully against a current of brown water as high as the windows of abandoned cars, some carrying children on their backs and escorting the elderly along a series of guide ropes.

Authorities have issued warnings over the rising water level of the Chaophraya river that could bring flooding to the capital Bangkok and surrounding areas.

The government has reassured the public that the situation is manageable and there will be no repeat of the devastating months-long flooding of 2011, which killed hundreds of people, damaged vast swathes of farmland and paralyzed Bangkok and its industrial belt.

(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um, Juarawee Kittisilpa and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Martin Petty and Barbara Lewis)