Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thai floods may last six more weeks

ABC News via the Associated Press: Thailand's catastrophic floods may take up to six weeks to recede, the prime minister said Saturday, as residents living in Bangkok's outskirts sloshed through waist-high waters in some areas and the human toll from the crisis nationwide rose to 356 dead and more than 110,000 displaced.

Water bearing down on the capital from the north began spilling through Bangkok's outer districts on Friday and continued creeping in on Saturday. So far, however, most of the metropolis of 9 million people has escaped unharmed, and its two airports are operating normally. Bangkokians are girding for the worst, though, after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra this week urged all residents to move valuables to higher ground.

...The government's emergency relief center said flooding in the city was occuring at "concentrated points." One of them, the northern district of Don Muang, was partially inundated after floodwaters burst through a canal barrier wall that workers were scrambling to repair overnight.

...Excessive monsoon rains have drowned a third of the Southeast Asian nation since late July, causing billions of dollars in damage and putting nearly 700,000 people temporarily out of work. Some flooding on Bangkok's outskirts was expected after Yingluck ordered floodgates opened Thursday in a risky move to drain the dangerous runoff through urban canals and into the sea. Nobody knows with any certainty to what extent the city will flood....

Map of Bangkok by Lerdsuwa, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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