BANGKOK, Thailand (eTN) – Since August, Thailand has been bracing for continuous rain. Over 30 provinces in the kingdom have been affected, with the death toll reaching already over 260 people. Starting in August in the northern and northeastern provinces of the country, the flooding has since progressed to Central Thailand. The UNESCO World Heritage sites of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai were severely affected according to official bulletins from the Thailand Meteorological Department (TMD). Earlier this week, Ayutthaya was practically cut off from the rest of the country as floods invaded highways linking the city of 70,000 inhabitants to Bangkok and the north. The city – once known as the Venice of Siam – is particularly exposed. The city is built like an island, as it is surrounded by the Chao Phraya, Pa Sak, and Lopburi rivers. According to the Ayutthaya governor, a tenth of the city island has been inundated with grave consequences for private homes, along with working sites and UNESCO World Heritage sites at Ayutthaya Historical Park.
Bangkok has so far moderately been affected, compared to many other provinces. But increasingly, the 10 million inhabitants of the metropolis are preparing themselves for the worst, as torrential rain is expected for the middle of next week. On Saturday, according to newspapers reports, Bangkokians started to stock up on food, such as rice and cans, as well as drinkable water to face potential isolation over the next few days. On Friday, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra expressed confidence that Bangkok would cope with the current rainfall thanks to 200 water pumps installed around town and the tunnels being opened to evacuate rain waters. The Prime Minister added that the situation would remain uncertain from October 15 as another storm combined with high tide was expected to hit the capital. “The widespread flood problem is reaching crisis level, the worst in decades,” said the premier, as the volume of water is now exceeding absorption capacities by reservoirs, while torrential water damaged a number of flood gates. Temporary shelters in schools started to open while a 24-hour assistance center has been opened at Don Muang Airport.
Information is available online at www.thailandtourismupdate.com , www.tatnews.org , or at the Thailand Meteorological daily bulletin at www.tmd.go.th/en/daily_forecast.php .