Thursday, October 20, 2011

Flooding looms for Bangkok residents

ABC News via Associated Press: The threat has loomed large over this giant metropolis for weeks: Floodwaters could rapidly swamp glitzy downtown Bangkok, ruining treasured ancient palaces and chic boutiques on skyscraper-lined avenues in the heart of the Thai economy.

The floods haven't come, but the sense of imminent doom is growing by the day, seeping in through worried conversations, school closings and emptied store shelves. One measure of the fear: the protective walls of sandbags scattered across the city's canals, homes and shop-fronts are expanding in number and height daily.

Many Bangkokians are girding for the worst after a week of mixed government messages that have failed to answer their most pressing question: Will the capital succumb to the worst floods to strike Thailand in half a century?

...A long season of monsoon rains and storms has wasted a vast swath of Asia this year, killing 745 people — a quarter of them children — in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines, according to the United Nations....

Satellite image of Bangkok

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