Thailand Evacuates Hospital as Flooding Threatens Bangkok

Posted October 9th, 2011 at 12:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Thai emergency workers have evacuated more than 300 patients from a hospital north of Bangkok, as flood waters from weeks of torrential rains forced hundreds of nearby factories to close and threatened the capital with its worst flooding in decades.

The evacuations by boat in the ancient temple city of Ayutthaya began late Saturday after sandbags failed and the hospital was swamped with 2.2 meters of floodwater. Television footage showed local residents piling their pets and their belongings onto boats and seeking shelter.

Meanwhile, a photograph of provincial Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra appeared Sunday in the Bangkok Post newspaper. It showed him carrying a statue of Buddha to a special ceremony in the city where participants asked the gods to make the worst flooding in half a century stop.

Authorities said Sunday that at least 261 people have been killed since rains began pounding the region in late July.

Authorities say more than 2 million people in 30 provinces have been affected and that more rain is expected this week.