Bangkok Threatened by Floods

In Asia, Floods & Storms, News Headlines

The death toll from flooding in Thailand climbed to 32 on Saturday as rising waters hit more areas of the kingdom and threatened to swamp parts of the capital.

Victims were swept to their deaths or killed in accidents as vehicles were carried away by the churning waters, according to the latest report by the Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand.

The floods, which began on October 10, have devastated huge swathes of the country, flooding thousands of homes and leaving authorities struggling to reach people stranded in remote areas.

More than 1.4 million people, or over 500,000 households, have seen their homes or farmlands submerged, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said.

It said the flooding had hit 30 out of Thailand’s 76 provinces, while Bangkok is at risk of overflowing waterways.

The two worst-hit provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima and Buriram have each reported six deaths, while five people were killed in Lop Buri and three died in Khon Kaen.

A further 12 people have died in eight more provinces across central, north-eastern and eastern areas.

The Irrigation Department Saturday issued warnings to people living in seven low-lying provinces, including Bangkok, as water from further north began to flow downstream.

Around 4,000 cubic metres of water per second is expected to flow into the capital’s Chao Phraya river, which coupled with high sea levels surging from the other direction, could cause floods in parts of the city.

“We advise people to move their possessions to higher ground and constantly monitor official announcements,” said Irrigation Department spokesman Boonsanong Suchartpong.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has said Nakhon Ratchasima suffered its worst flooding in 40 to 50 years.

He said twice as much rain had fallen compared with last year in the mountainous province about 250 kilometres north-east of Bangkok.

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