Crocodiles Float Into Bangkok

In Asia, Floods & Storms, News Headlines

Bangkok’s northern suburb of Luangphukhao was inundated by floodwaters over the weekend but most residents have still been reluctant to leave their homes despite the risks to their safety.

People wade to the local store to buy supplies and ferry small children around on makeshift rafts.

One man cleared debris from around his house while seated in a floating bathtub.

The water is stagnant and murky.

Authorities are warning that it could harbour escapees from crocodile farms that operate on Bangkok’s outskirts.

“Of course I’m worried about the crocodiles,” said one man as he pulled his son along on a foam mattress through waist-deep water.

“What we have to do is remember to tell others if we see one.”

Local resident Napaporn Chainiwat said: “I’m scared of crocodiles… so if I hear of any in this area, I’ll leave.”

The nearby Laksi Temple is also partially submerged. Saffron-robed Buddhist monks float around in small boats. Sandbag walls protect the temple’s most valuable Buddhist artefacts.

But the temple’s main hall is on higher ground, and the monks have taken in 500 evacuees, including three water buffalo and several pet dogs.

Volunteers provide hot meals of rice porridge and vegetables, and the Thai military has pitched in with free haircuts for flood refugees.

But life in an evacuation camp is boring and crowded, and since the flood waters may take several weeks to recede there is little prospect of going home.

The Thai Government now says 80% of Bangkok may escape inundation, but that’s little comfort for those who have already lost their homes.

“I’m glad that many people won’t be flooded,” said Nongkran Phonjanpreuk, who has been camped out in the temple for two weeks with her young granddaughter.

“But that’s what the government said to me and now my home is under water.”

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