Mixed messages over flood threat to Bangkok


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The Independent Online

The threat of floods inundating Thailand's capital could ease by early next month as record-high water levels in the river carrying torrents downstream from the country's north begin to decline, officials said yesterday.

Bangkok's immediate prospects are uncertain, however, as the front lines in battling the flood draw tighter around the city daily. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the city governor, said major inundation was forecast by mid-week as a second wave of floodwaters bore down on Bangok from the northern provinces of Pathumthani and Ayutthaya.

A relatively rosy longer-term projection from the Flood Relief Operations Centre came just a day after reports that Bangkok's main Chao Phraya river was overflowing its banks and at its highest levels in seven years.

The Justice Minister Pracha Promnok, the head of the flood relief centre, said people should not be too concerned because the spillover could be drained. He also said water in an overflowing main canal in Bangkok was receding, and drainage efforts east and west of the city were working well.

But the situation remained dire in the capital's northern outskirts and Thailand's central provinces, which suffered the worst of the flooding after heavy monsoon rains since July. However, some badly hit provinces in the central rice-growing area are recovering as water recedes.

The Thai military used boats to help to rescue stranded residents near a domestic airport in northern Bangkok that has been the flood relief headquarters and a shelter for evacuees. AP