Thailand rushes condoms to flood victims

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Thailand scrambled on Wednesday to airlift condoms and other emergency health supplies to victims of its worst floods in decades to prevent a feared surge in unplanned pregnancies.

Five helicopters began transporting medicine and other provisions from the Public Health Ministry in Bangkok to seven locations in the central province of Lop Buri, which has been severely inundated.

"Local volunteers told us that villagers have nothing to do during the floods, so to prevent a baby boom we added condoms too," an official at the Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand told AFP.

The unusually severe monsoon floods have killed 237 people and affected three-quarters of the country, including the northern city of Chiang Mai and the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, both popular tourist destinations.

Millions of people have suffered damage to their homes or livelihoods because of the floods, which are several metres deep in places.

The military has been deployed to help victims and army camps are being opened to evacuees.

Authorities were battling to stop the floods reaching the centre of low-lying Bangkok, as forecasters warned of more stormy weather to come.

Science and technology minister Plodprasop Suraswadi admitted the government was fighting a losing battle.

"We can't stop it raining and it's difficult to drain water into the sea. We have done everything we can but it's not enough," he told reporters.

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