Floods Bring Thai PM to Tears, Bangkok ‘Resisting’ Nature

Posted October 27th, 2011 at 11:10 am (UTC-5)
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Bangkok residents waded through waist-deep water or made their way down flooded streets in make-shift boats Thursday, bracing for more floodwaters that have already inundated the Thai capital.

In other parts of the capital, residents stacked sandbags, hoping to protect their homes and businesses.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra warned Thursday the government was doing all it could to minimize the damage, but acknowledged officials were reduced to “resisting the force of nature.” At one point, her eyes welled with tears as she spoke with reporters about the flooding.

Authorities have already urged residents of two outlying districts to evacuate their homes and take refuge in nearby shelters. And some roads leading from the Thai capital were choked with traffic as residents tried to reach higher ground.

One resident told reporters the flooding has been unlike anything he has ever seen living in Bangkok for 54 years.

Scores of residents have been using a government-imposed five-day holiday to escape flood waters that are expected to swamp the city later this week. Thousands of people are packed into bus terminals and Bangkok's main international airport.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra issued the evacuation warning late Wednesday for residents in the Don Muang and Bang Phalad districts, both of which are nearly completely submerged. The airport in Don Muang, the second largest in Bangkok, has been shut down.

The Chao Praya River is on the verge of breaching its banks due to high sea tides. Officials say the floodwaters could be as deep as 1.5 meters by the end of the week.

Unusually heavy monsoon rain has caused flooding since mid-July that has killed at least 373 people across Thailand.