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Bangkok floods: residents begin exodus

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27 October 2011 by Luke McCormick

Thousands of residents are rushing to leave Bangkok ahead of potentially severe flooding from Friday as flood defences threaten to become submerged.

Bangkok's main bus and train stations and many roads are clogged by crowds of people attempting to leave the city.

Many are heading south to areas so far unaffected by flooding sweeping through central and northern areas of the country. Many hotels in southern resort destinations are almost full and are cutting rates to help those affected by floods.

Britain's Foreign Office has now warned against all but essential travel to Bangkok as flood waters are expected to overcome flood barriers protecting the city over the weekend.

Thailand's Prime Minister said that in a worst-case scenario all of Bangkok would flood with water levels ranging from 10 centimeters to one metre in different areas.

The Foreign Office said in a statement: " We now advise against all but essential travel to the city of Bangkok and the 26 provinces in Thailand affected by flooding. Our advice against all but essential travel to the city of Bangkok does not include transit through Suvarnabhumi international airport. Flights to destinations elsewhere in Thailand (eg the resorts of Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, and Koh Samui) continue to operate normally."

The Foreign Office said the change of advice was ‘because of the large volume of flood water from the north that needs to pass through Bangkok to the Gulf of Thailand'.

"High tides will slow the run-off through Bangkok especially along the Chao Phraya River. As a result, significant flooding is expected in many parts of the capital during the period 27-31 October," the statement said.

"The flooding is likely to disrupt transport, close tourist attractions and may affect electricity and water supplies, though the authorities have said they will do all they can to maintain these. Supply chain disruption and high demand is causing shortages of bottled water, dried/tinned foods and some other products in supermarkets. Cash machines may not work in flooded locations. Hotels are likely to have contingency measures in place and visitors should seek advice from the hotel management. British nationals already in Thailand should exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities if the area that they are in is flooded.

"At present, Suvarnabhumi international airport remains open, can be reached from the city centre, and flights to destinations elsewhere in Thailand (eg the resorts of Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, and Koh Samui) continue to operate normally. These tourist destinations are not currently affected by the flood and are operating normally. Our advice against all but essential travel to the city of Bangkok does not include transit through Suvarnabhumi airport."

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