Mon, Oct 25, 2010 - Page 5 News List

Reinforced Thai capital readies for rising floodwaters

AFP, BANGKOK

Bangkok braced for rising waters encroaching on the fortified city yesterday as the death toll from two weeks of nationwide flooding rose to 38, emergency officials said.

The floods, which began on Oct. 10, have affected millions of people across huge swathes of the country, inundating thousands of homes and leaving authorities struggling to reach people stranded in remote areas.

The capital has reinforced its floodwalls with 200,000 sandbags and will build temporary wooden bridges in 27 communities to help people cross over waterlogged streets.

More than 1,000 water pumps are on standby and authorities are preparing schools, monasteries and mosques in 13 districts for evacuation.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said that while floods in the kingdom’s east and northeast were declining, the situation in central provinces was concerning, especially with high tides expected in the next few days.

“I’m trying my best to mobilize all possible assistance to solve this problem,” he said on his weekly television broadcast.

The Emergency Medical Institute of Thailand reported six more deaths to add to Saturday’s toll of 32, who were swept to their deaths or killed in accidents as vehicles were carried away by the churning waters.

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

A further 17 people have died in eight more provinces across central, northeastern and eastern areas, including one in Nonthaburi province, just north of Bangkok.

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

About 4,000m3 of water per second was expected to flow into the Chao Phraya River that flows through Bangkok, which coupled with high sea levels surging from the other direction could cause floods in parts of the city.

More than 2.5 million people, or 828,443 households, have been affected by the two weeks of flooding, which has hit 30 out of Thailand’s 76 provinces, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said.

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