Bangkok Residents Evacuate Six Districts as Floodwaters Near

Posted October 24th, 2011 at 11:35 am (UTC-5)
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Residents of six Bangkok districts have headed to higher ground as floodwaters moved closer to the center of the Thai capital.

On Monday morning, water spilled into streets around the city's old Don Muang airport and a center for relief operations.

A volunteer at the relief center said the water rose dramatically through the night and is now about 60 centimeters deep.

In an address late Sunday, Bangkok's governor urged people to move the districts' sick and elderly residents into emergency shelters, adding that others should move their belongings to higher ground.

The flooding, caused by months of heavy monsoon rains, has killed more than 350 people in Thailand and affected more than two million others.

Business parks housing hundreds of enterprises in the Thai capital's northern suburbs have been under as much as three meters of water since last week.

With still more water bearing down on Bangkok from central Thailand, authorities have been shoring up levees and diverting water through canals in a desperate effort to keep the flooding out of the city center. But in places like Don Muang and nearby Chatujak – home of a popular weekend market – residents are heeding the governor's advice.

One resident said if he waits until the water breaks through the barriers, it may be too late.

Meanwhile Monday, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dismissed criticism that her government was not keeping the public well informed.

The flooding, caused by a combination of monsoon rains and a series of typhoons, has affected much of Southeast Asia.

Cambodia has reported more than 240 people killed by floodwaters, while Burma said Sunday it suffered more than 100 killed in flash floods last week.