Author Topic: Floodwaters close in on more of Thai capital  (Read 490 times)

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Offline thaiga

Floodwaters close in on more of Thai capital
« on: October 25, 2011, 11:25:36 AM »
* Big residential area by river warned of floods

* Govt may have to move its own crisis centre

* Japanese, Thai central banks to cooperate on funding

By Panarat Thepgumpanat and Apornrath Phoonphongphiphat

BANGKOK, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Authorities in Bangkok told people in a densely populated area to prepare for flooding on Tuesday, adding to fears in the Thai capital where three northern districts are partly under water and the army is shoring up defences to try to save others.

Late on Monday the governor of Bangkok issued a flood warning for Bang Phlad district, which is west of the Chao Phraya river and away from the three northern districts worst hit so far but closer to the commercial heart of the capital.

"I would like to ask people in Bang Phlad district to move your valuables and other belongings to higher ground for your own safety," Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said.

Bang Phlad district is home to department stores, universities and hospitals. Siriraj Hospital, where Thailand's revered king has been for more than two years, is nearby.

Thailand's worst flooding in five decades has killed at least 366 people and affected nearly 2.5 million, with more than 113,000 PEOPLE living in temporary shelters and 720,000 seeking medical attention.

Floodwater levels are also rising in the Don Muang district, site of the capital's big domestic airport, which also houses the government's flood crisis centre.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told reporters the crisis centre may have to be relocated.

"We are thinking of moving it. Although there's no flooding inside it, we are still facing transport disruptions out there. We'll discuss this issue at the cabinet meeting today," Yingluck told reporters.

Bangkok's normally clogged roads were quieter than usual as people returned to work after a long holiday weekend.

Thousands of motorists have parked their cars on elevated highways and multi-storey car parks are full. Other residents have simply left the city, especially with the start of a new school term pushed back to mid-November.

The Bank of Thailand's headquarters is by the Chao Phraya river. Some small streets nearby have seen a little floodwater but the central bank itself is protected by high walls and was operating normally on Tuesday, said an official contacted by telephone.

To the north of the capital, whole provinces have been inundated, knocking out a series of huge industrial estates and putting at least 640,000 people temporarily out of work.

Big Japanese firms such as Toyota Motor Corp , Sony Corp and Nikon Corp have had to close down operations.

The central banks of Japan and Thailand said on Tuesday they were looking at a mechanism to offer funds in Thai baht backed by Japanese government bonds to help Japanese firms in flood-hit areas.

Later, a Bank of Japan official said Japanese banks and companies were not at the moment having trouble getting funds in Thailand.

At least 227 bank branches had been forced to close as of Friday, most of them in provinces north of Bangkok.

Hundreds of people were evacuated over the weekend as water in the residential suburbs of Lak Si and Don Muang reached levels as high as two metres (six feet), spilling out of swollen canals and rivers.

Floods in parts of Bangkok became inevitable after the authorities opened most canal gates late last week, a high-risk operation that aimed to take pressure off defensive walls in the north and divert water around the east and west of the capital into the sea but which raised the risk of inner-city flooding. (Additional reporting by Orathai Sriring in Bangkok and the Tokyo bureau; Writing by Alan Raybould; Editing by Paul Tait)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/25/thailand-floods-idUSL3E7LP0AS20111025
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