Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bangkok starts flooding, city residents prepare

Bangkok, October 23, 2011 (Tehelkanews)

At least seven districts of Bangkok were partially submerged up to 30 centimetres or more early on Sunday.Authorities said flooding in the capital could last several weeks.Some roads in the northern Don Muang district were waterways with small boats nearly as common as motor vehicles. Water was as high as a car tyre. The domestic airport was still operational.

A few kilometres southwest in the direction of the city centre heavy equipment was being used to reinforce barriers to a canal that intersected the major Chang Wattana Road.Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra warned people on Saturday that parts of Bangkok would flood and residents should expect the water to stay four to six weeks.Expressways would remain open and the government would protect the city's drinking water system, power plants and important buildings, she said.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said water had risen more than 2 metres along the Chao Phraya River that flows through the densely populated heart of Bangkok. He warned residents to brace for flooding.Floods that started in northern Thailand in July have left destruction in their path as they have flowed south. At least 356 have died with two still missing, the National Disaster Prevention Centre said Saturday.

More than 40 of Thailand's 78 provinces have suffered damage, including seven flooded industrial estates that employed nearly 400,000 workers, and 75 rural highways.Public Health Minister Wittiya Buranasiri said the country has reported 720,000 flood-related cases, the government news agency reported Saturday. Nearly 100,000 people were treated for stress.

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