Floods seep further in Bangkok

 

Floods pushed further into Bangkok today as residents of long-submerged provinces north of the capital started to rebuild their lives.

The water slowly advancing through Bangkok's northern and western neighbourhoods is threatening the city's subway system, two key industrial estates and the emergency headquarters set up to deal with the disaster that has claimed more than 500 lives nationwide.

Evacuations have been ordered in 12 of Bangkok's 50 districts.

The flooding began in late July and some provinces to the north of Bangkok have been inundated for more than a month. The waters have started to recede in recent days, revealing the massive clean-up effort that lies ahead.

In Nakorn Sawan town centre, where the water has dried completely, the government sponsored a cleanup day last week when roads were scrubbed down to get rid of the oily mud left from the floods.

The clean-up also has begun in some parts of Thailand's ancient capital of Ayutthaya. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is to visit the province to witness recovery efforts.

Her government has come under fire for failing to predict the threat to Bangkok. Residents also have been frustrated by widely differing assessments of the flooding situation from the prime minister, Bangkok's governor and the country's top water experts and officials.

Floods in the city continued to flow south toward the still-unaffected central business district. In Chatuchak, a few miles north of there, water was nearly knee deep around Mo Chit Skytrain station, the northernmost stop on the capital's elevated train system.

Water was also rising near three subway stops in the same area. Both mass transit networks are functioning normally, but some exits have been barricaded and closed.

Chatuchak is home to the government's national flood relief headquarters, which is housed in the Energy Ministry - a building now surrounded by water. The relief headquarters moved last week out of Bangkok's Don Muang airport after it, too, was flooded. The city's main airport remains open.

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