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22 Oct 2011 07:24
Thailand’s worst floods in decades are expected to last another four to six weeks as a mass of water drains from the north into the sea, the government warned on Saturday.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra warned residents in Bangkok to move their belongings at least one metre off the ground this weekend to prepare for possible inundation.
The government has launched a risky bid to drain the floodwaters in the central plains out to sea through canals in the city, which has already seen waist-deep water in parts of its northern outskirts.
“Bangkok must open all floodgates to allow the water through,” Yingluck said in her televised weekly address to the nation.
“So during this long weekend residents should move belongings, cars and other valuable things to places at least one metre high.”
About 113 000 people have been forced to seek refuge in shelters, Yingluck said, adding that while the waters were receding in some areas of the country, the floods heading towards the capital were unstoppable.
The flood situation would continue for “four to six weeks”, she added.
Government spokesperson Titima Chaisang said the premier was referring to the overall flood situation in the country and not specifically in Bangkok.
Three months of heavy monsoon rains have killed at least 356 people in Thailand and damaged the homes and livelihoods of nine million people since the crisis erupted, mostly in the north and centre, the government said.—AFP
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