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Friday, October 28, 2011

Airport Building Flooded

The ground floor of Bangkok's Don Muang International Airport was inundated Tuesday as floodwaters headed toward the already water logged Thai capital.

The Thai Cabinet declared extra holidays from Thursday through Monday to allow Bangkok area residents to cope with the flooding, the Thai News Agency reported. The report said floodwater from the runoff north of the city had already begun flowing into the capital.

Flood relief authorities asked those working at the international airport to move out of the flooded ground floor, the Bangkok Post reported.

While the airport was operating, traffic around the facility was congested and several passengers who arrived at the airport were stranded in the terminals as taxi drivers did not want to get caught at the flooded airport.

The decision by the Cabinet to declare the long weekend holiday was taken because of concerns about high tide, which could worsen the problems.

TNA said latest reports showed floodwaters now extend from Rangsit, north of Bangkok, along Phaholyothin Road to the Don Muang Royal Thai Air Force Base and Yingcharoen Market.

The Post said concerns heightened among residents, the result of unsuccessful efforts to divert the northern runoff to east and west of the capital.

About 4,000 million cubic meters of floodwater from Ayutthaya, the ancient capital in the north, were expected to hit Bangkok Wednesday, Deputy Bangkok Gov. Pornthep Techapaiboon warned. He said city authorities have been able to drain only about 10 percent of the volume.

Pornthep, however, said a high railway track in the Thawi Watthana district could serve as a barrier on the west side.

Bangkok Gov. Sukhumbhand Paribatra has already warned residents living outside the city's embankments to move to shelters.

"The government has no intention of concealing information. We provide the public with regular updates. But too many new factors keep cropping up," Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said.

People living in flooded locations can expect their areas to remain flooded for another month because of the water coming from the north, the Bangkok Nation reported, quoting flood and water management expert Seri Supharathit.

Already residents in six Bangkok districts have been warned to move their belongings to higher ground.

Thailand has been hit by the worst flooding in five decades, brought on by torrential monsoon rains since July that affected nearly half of the country. The flooding has been blamed for the deaths of more than 350 people.

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