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
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,
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.