Prime Minister: "After assessing the situation, we expect floodwater to remain in Bangkok for around two weeks to one month before going into the sea."
Thailand announced a five-day holiday on Tuesday to give people the chance to escape floods closing in on Bangkok as authorities ordered the evacuation of a housing estate on the outskirts of the city after a protective wall gave way.
The cabinet declared October 27-31 a holiday in Bangkok and 20 provinces affected by the country's worst flooding in 50 years as weekend high tides in the Gulf of Thailand could complicate efforts to divert water away from the low-lying capital. The floods have forced the closure of seven industrial estates in Ayutthaya, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani provinces bordering Bangkok, causing billions of dollars of damage, disrupting supply chains for industry and putting about 650,000 people temporarily out of work. The cabinet announced a 325 billion baht budget on Tuesday to help rebuild the country, mostly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), small vendors and individuals. "If they get back to normal quickly, it will help push the economy forward," Finance Minister Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala said of the businesses.
The floods have killed at least 366 people since mid-July and disrupted the lives of nearly 2.5 million, with more than 113,000 living in temporary shelters and 720,000 seeking medical attention. Although authorities are scrambling to pump out water from the Bangkok region, record-high water levels in the Chao Phraya river that winds through the city raise the risk of floods in central Bangkok, especially if heavy rain returns when the tide is high. Don Muang Airport, Bangkok's second biggest, said it would temporarily close at 5 p.m. (1000 GMT) on Tuesday as passengers and staff might have problems reaching the terminal because of the flooding. It expected to reopen on November 1. Airports of Thailand AOT.BK said the main Suvarnabhumi Airport was not affected because it was on higher ground. However, Thai Airways International Pcl THAI.BK, which operates out of Suvarnabhumi, said it may reduce flights because of staffing concerns. Parts of Don Muang, Lak Si and Sai Mai districts in northern Bangkok have been under water since Saturday and the flood crisis centre in Don Muang may have to relocate. The centre instructed residents of the Muang Ake housing estate in northern Bangkok to evacuate on Tuesday after a flood protection wall in nearby Pathum Thani province was breached, adding to tension in the capital, where residents have fortified their homes and hoarded food and water. - Reuters.
Floodwater swamped a new area of Thailand's capital on Wednesday as some shops started rationing food and the prime minister warned that parts of Bangkok could be flooded for up to a month. Residents of Bang Phlad, a riverside district some way from Bangkok's three swamped northern districts, were told to urgently evacuate as floods hit the capital on a second front, deepening anxiety in the city of at least 12 million people, many of whom were expected to flee ahead of a special five-day holiday. "After assessing the situation, we expect floodwater to remain in Bangkok for around two weeks to one month before going into the sea," Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told reporters. "However ... we shouldn't face water as high as two or three metres staying for two or three months as we've seen in other provinces."... Bangkok residents scrambled to stock up on food, but bottled water was nowhere to be seen and some shops restricted customers to small quantities of food to prevent hoarding. With high tide approaching in the Gulf of Thailand, Seri Supharatid, director of Rangsit University's Centre on Climate Change and Disaster, said the city's fate rested with river dykes holding. "In the worst-case scenario, if all the dykes break, all parts of Bangkok would be more or less flooded," Seri said. - Reuters.
WATCH: Bangkok floods force evacuees to move again.
WATCH: Bangkok could be flooded "for weeks" if dykes go.