Friday, October 28, 2011

Bangkok Floods

Thais in the northern districts of Bangkok – e.g. Don Muang, Bang Phlad and Thawi Wattana, some of which are reportedly now 90% submerged by rising waters – are scrambling to leave the capital. Areas in proximity to the swollen Chao Phraya river are expected to face the worst flooding as the run-off from torrential rains in the north surges through the city. Bangkok's Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra declared: “This is the first time I am using the term 'evacuation', the first time I'm really asking you to leave".

Already, more than 360 people have died in Thailand's worst flooding in decades. The floods have been triggered by heavy monsoon rains that began in July. More than one third of the country's provinces were inundated.

The crisis is a test for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who took office in August 2011 and has previously been criticized for failing to take the flood threat seriously enough.

"It's a crisis, because if we try to resist this massive amount of floodwater, a force of nature, we won't win," Yingluck said.

Already, Thai authorities have declared a five-day holiday, to run from Thursday through to Monday, in Bangkok and in 20 provinces affected by the flooding to allow residents to relocate.

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