Floods Sweep Across Thailand

In Asia, Floods & Storms, News Headlines

Record flooding in Thailand is set to worsen as massive volumes of water move from the country’s north towards the sea.

More than 2.5 million people have now been affected and almost 250 killed by the flooding which is said to be the worst in the country’s modern history.

Predicted high tides along with more rain and swollen waterways also mean Bangkok is now under threat.

In Nonthaburi on the northern outskirts of Bangkok the swollen Chao Praya River is already overflowing.

Just a little further north, temples, factories and homes are already underwater at the ancient city of Ayutthaya.

Pulling up at the sodden pier, a ferry driver says it is just a matter of time before the situation there worsens.

“I think so because lots of water now which will come down. You should travel to Ayutthaya to check it out, I heard it is so flooded,” he said.

Food vendors at the ferry stop are working at stalls behind sandbags that are already barely keeping the water out.

“The selling is gone down, can’t sell outside. We will have to stand in water and sell,” said one woman.

Audio: Listen to Thailand correspondent Zoe Daniels (AM)
Next week will be critical for the capital with the combination of more predicted rain, high tides and massive volumes of water flowing towards the sea.

It is nearing the end of the wet season and flooding is to be expected, but rainfall this year has been unusually high and the season long.

Nearby, mountains of rubbish and plant material have washed up from the river outside a school where teachers have moved furniture upstairs while students are on their mid-term break.

“The water came fast plus the water from the sea is high and if it is raining like this, the water will automatically come up,” said teacher Visoot Longsomboon.

“Ask if I am scared, yes I am, but we keep watching all the time even when it is a holiday. There will be teachers watching all the time.”

The children look like having an extended holiday.

Fifty-eight of Thailand’s 77 provinces have been affected by this season’s flooding, which is the worse in recent memory.

Hundreds of thousands of acres of rice has been inundated; the damage to industry overall is around $1 billion.

While those on the rural outskirts want Bangkok to open its floodgates to clear their land, authorities are hoping they can protect the city with gates, pumps and a 2.5 metre flood wall.

But on the banks of the Chao Praya at Nonthaburi, 15-year-old Sirada Poompayung sits on a doorstep watching the river inching upwards.

The path outside her home is already covered.

“I moved stuff to higher places,” she said.

“I put them in boxes and put the boxes on top of each other.”

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