Flooding threatens Thailand's second-largest city

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The Independent Online

Thailand's second-biggest city has been put on alert for flash floods as more than nine weeks of heavy rains that have killed more than 170 people continue to wreak havoc in the country's north.

Residents of parts of Chiang Mai city prepared for possible evacuation today as the Ping River kept rising and spilling over its banks. Thousands of students were ordered to leave school early, and tourists and vendors in the famous Night Bazaar area were told to be ready to evacuate.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said at least 173 people have died and about 600,000 households in one-third of the country's 77 provinces have been affected by the floods.

The dead include five members of one family who died in a flash flood Tuesday in a mountainous area of Chiang Mai province, department official Chayut Wongwanish said.

Train service to northern Thailand has been cut off, and more than 110 highways and roads across the nation are impassable.