Bangkok Supermarkets Empty as Flood Fears Grow

Posted October 12th, 2011 at 8:30 am (UTC-5)
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Supermarkets across Bangkok say they are running out of food and supplies as residents prepare for massive flooding making its way toward the Thai capital.

One cashier said his store's shelves are almost empty.

He said rice and instant noodles were among the first items to be purchased.

Crews are erecting flood barriers along the Chao Phraya River, which is only two meters above sea level. The river could begin overflowing later this week, due to high ocean tides and flood waters streaming from northern Thailand, where floods have killed at least 281 people.

A spokesman for the Red Cross of Thailand tells VOA the flood waters have inundated flat rice paddy fields in Thailand's central plains.

The Red Cross says several industrial parks are threatened, and two are already underwater. Dams and reservoirs are all nearing capacity, and river embankments have been breached.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has urged businesses not to engage in price gouging .

The Asia Pacific region has been plagued by weeks of typhoons that started earlier than normal this year, bringing record amounts of rainfall to the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia,Laos and Thailand.

At least 500 people are dead across the region and hundreds of thousands of hectares of rice paddies have been damaged or destroyed.