Bangkok Residents Evacuate Six Districts as Floodwaters Near

Posted October 24th, 2011 at 2:35 am (UTC-5)
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Residents of six Bangkok districts were moving to higher ground Monday after officials in Thailand's capital city warned that flooding in the areas is imminent.

Bangkok's governor said late Sunday that aged and infirm residents of the districts should move into emergency shelters while others should move their belongings to higher ground. Monday morning, water was already spilling 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.

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, and officials say it could be weeks before the water recedes.

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.

The flooding, caused by a combination of monsoon rains and a series of typhoons, has affected much of Southeast Asia and killed more than 350 people in Thailand alone.

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.