Thai floodwaters spill into northern Bangkok
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Last Updated: Friday, October 21, 2011, 21:10
Bangkok: Millions of nervous Bangkok residents were warned on Friday to move their belongings to safety as the kingdom's worst floods in decades began pouring into the outskirts of the sprawling city.

In a desperate attempt to drain the mass of muddy water, the authorities have opened all of Bangkok's sluice gates to allow the floods to flow through canals and rivers in the low-lying capital and into the Gulf of Thailand.

The move should ease pressure on vulnerable flood barriers on the northern edge of the city of 12 million people, but it increases the threat to Bangkok itself, where some outlying residential areas were inundated on Friday.

People were advised to move their possessions to higher floors or safe areas after the government admitted the sea of water bearing down on the capital from the central plains was unstoppable.

"I ask all Bangkok residents to move your belongings to higher ground as a precaution, but they should not panic. It's preparation," said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who has described the crisis as "overwhelming."

Three months of heavy monsoon rains have killed at least 342 people in Thailand and damaged the homes and livelihoods of millions of others, mostly in the north and centre.

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to seek refuge in shelters, including 33-year-old Nonglak Yodnankham who fled the approaching water in Pathumthani province just north of Bangkok.

"The flood was following behind us when we ran away. Within five minutes, it was already up to my waist," she told AFP at an emergency shelter at Bangkok's number two airport, Don Mueang.

The waters were already seeping into the capital too, leaving little doubt that large areas of the metropolis would be inundated. The only uncertainty was how deep the floods would be and whether the city centres would be hit.

Water up to 70 centimetres deep submerged roads and houses elsewhere in Don Mueang district while more than 2,000 homes were flooded in neighbouring Lak Si, about 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the city centre.


First Published: Friday, October 21, 2011, 21:10

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