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UPDATE: Bangkok’s residents flee advancing flood waters

27 Oct 2011
More and more residents of Bangkok are making plans to leave the Thai capital as today is the beginning of a five-day emergency holiday declared by the government. Thousands of residents reportedly flocked to bus terminals, railway stations and the airport to make their way out. The situation continues to worsen as run-off from the north has hit Sai Mai, one of Bangkok's 50 districts. Evacuation orders have been given out for the district by authorities. According to the city’s governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, two other districts, Don Muang and Bang Phlat are already partially submerged. Meanwhile, the Chao Phraya river has reached an elevation of 2.5 metres. This means that the river has reached its brim and might start to spill over to other parts of the city on October 28, when the water level is expected to rise by 2.6 metres. On October 26, the water level was reported to have elevated by 2.3 metres (see story here). Escalating flood conditions have already prompted governments of Britain, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore to issue travel warnings against non-essential travel to Bangkok. One of Japan’s largest tour agencies, JTB, has also suspended all tours to the city until November 15. Essentials such as eggs and bottled water are being emptied out from shops and according to one Bangkok resident that Business Traveller spoke to, people in the city do not usually drink tap water, but they might now have to as there is no other option. Some 50,000 soldiers from Thailand’s armed forces have been called to stand by and provide help to flood-affected areas. Currently, the Suvarnabhumi Airport is still safe from inundation, and a 3.5 metre-high dyke has been built to protect the facility. Hotels in tourist areas, which remain dry, are operating as usual. But Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has commented that the flood is expected to last for a month, and with things looking worse by the day, no one can say for sure how long these areas will hold up. For more updates, visit thailand.prd.go.th. Tiffany Sandrasageran
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