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Thailand Battles Historic Floods

By Eric Roston - 2011-11-24T06:09:22Z

Photograph by Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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An Island in the Field

A palm tree stands in a flooded rice field at dusk in the remote village of Mooban Pin Kaew, near Ayutthaya, on Nov. 17.

The floods hit during the main monsoon season, before rice passes its midpoint of growth. Thailand's farm ministry projected before the disaster that the main rice harvest would yield 26 million tons this year. The flooding destroyed an estimated 6 million tons, not including rice stored in submerged warehouses. About 13 percent of Thailand's rice farms were inundated.

The United Nations warned in October that the crop loss may cause "serious food shortages" in flood-stricken parts of Southeast Asia.