Rising floods shut Bangkok airport
Tuesday 25 October 2011
Thailand's floods crisis deepened after water began pouring into Bangkok's second airport, closing it.
Don Muang airport is used primarily for domestic flights but the news was sure to further erode the credibility of a government that has repeatedly sent mixed signals about its ability to defend an increasingly anxious capital from the nation's worst floods in nearly 60 years.
Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, the country's main international gateway, has yet to be affected by flooding and flights there were operating normally. Most of the city has been spared inundation so far.
The scene at Don Muang was chaotic as throngs of confused passengers struggled to leave or pulled up to the departure hall with luggage, unaware their flights had been cancelled.
With parts of the main road heading to central Bangkok flooded knee-deep, taxis were few. Some travellers waited hours for a ride as airlines struggled to arrange special buses.
Kantpat Mangalasiri, the airport's director, said Don Muang's runways would be closed until November 1 to ensure safe aircraft operations.
Don Muang has come to symbolise the gravity of Thailand's catastrophic floods, which have swamped a third of the country's provinces and killed 366 people over three months. The airport complex houses the government's emergency Flood Relief Operations Centre, and one of its terminals is home to about 4,000 people who have fled waterlogged homes.
Science and technology minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said the airport could only support 1,500 displaced people, and thousands who sought refuge there would have to be moved to other shelters because "we are concerned about their well-being."
Last week, the Thai air force moved about 20 planes from Don Muang, which is also a military base, as a precaution as waters approached the capital.
Water has been pouring into the Don Muang district, located on Bangkok's northern outskirts, for several days.
Don Muang is among seven of the capital's 50 districts that the government has declared at risk. Those zones, located in the north and north-west, are all experiencing some flooding.
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 MH370: 'Putin ordered plane to be flown to Kazakhstan space port,' conspiracy theory claims
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin, says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...