Thailand shores up capital as water levels rise

Updated: 2011-10-24 08:39

(China Daily)

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BANGKOk / YANGON - Thailand's capital was braced for more flooding on Sunday as water levels rose in some of Bangkok's northern suburbs and troops raced to fortify defense walls to protect two key industrial zones.

Authorities have taken measures to divert floodwaters flowing from the north away from the city and into the Gulf of Thailand, but the capital was on tenterhooks because of the possibility of heavy rainfall into canals and rivers already full to the brim.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said the authorities were doing everything possible to drive the water out, but were facing a race against time.

"Water is coming from different places and headed in the same direction. We're trying to build walls but there will be some impact on Bangkok," Yingluck told reporters, adding that high tide in the Gulf by the end of the week could complicate the situation.

Thailand's worst flooding in half a century has affected a third of the country and has been bearing down on Bangkok since early last week.

Twenty-eight of 77 provinces and 2.46 million people are affected, with water covering an area the size of Kuwait. Yingluck said on Saturday it could take as long as six weeks for the water to subside.

Since late July, 356 people have been killed and at least 113,000 moved to more than 1,700 makeshift shelters.

In Myanmar, more than 100 people were killed in flash floods caused by heavy storms in the center of the country over the past week, a government official said on Sunday.

"So far, 35 dead bodies were found out of 106 missing people. The other 71 people are also believed to have been killed in the floods," the official, who did not want to be named, told AFP.

"We haven't found their bodies yet and are still searching."

He added that more than 2,000 houses were swept away by the mass of water that hit four towns in the Magway region on Thursday and Friday.