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Flooding continues torrent of destruction in Thailand

November 4, 2011 |  8:47 am

Floodwaters in Thailand have crept closer to central Bangkok, forcing new evacuations and the closure of one of the country's largest shopping malls as the deluge threatened to swamp the Thai capital’s subway system, according to international news agencies.

Bloomberg news service reported Friday that Thai officials had built more barriers around Bangkok, including a wall of sandbags along a canal north of the city, and dikes were being further reinforced.

Officials from Bangkok's subway system were closely monitoring three stations in the area, but so far all of them remained open, the Associated Press reported. The agency said local media reports put the water’s depth at 15 inches.

The monsoonal floods, which began in late July, have killed more than 400 people, and thousands of residents have been ordered to evacuate. More than a quarter of Bangkok's 50 districts had been ordered evacuated, and nationwide the homes of some 10 million residents had been flooded.

The disaster worsened last month when about 40% more rainfall than the annual average filled dams north of Bangkok to capacity, Bloomberg noted. This spurred Thai authorities to release billions of gallons of water down a river basin the size of Florida, spreading the deluge over 64 of Thailand’s 77 province.

Citing Thai government data, the news service reported that floodwaters had damaged some World Heritage-listed temples, shuttered some 10,000 factories, and destroyed 15% of the nation’s rice crop.


Flooding forces Thailand to close one Bangkok airport

Thailand flooding could last 6 weeks more, premier warns

-- Ann M. Simmons in Los Angeles
Photo: Thai residents depart a bus on a flooded street in Bangkok on Friday. Credit: Aaron Favila / Associated Press