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Pattaya Daily News

10 October 2011 :: 09:10:55 am 58955

Thai PM scraps foreign trips amid flood crisis

BANGKOK, October 9, 2011 - Thailand's worst floods in decades have prompted the country's premier to postpone official visits to Singapore and Malaysia, a spokeswoman said on Sunday, as Bangkok braces for rising waters.
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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra last week described the flooding, which has left more than 250 people dead and inundated huge swathes of the kingdom as a “serious crisis” and warned that the capital would not escape unscathed.

She was scheduled to fly to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively as part of an introductory tour of the region after coming to power in August.

“The trips are postponed due to the floods,” government spokeswoman Titima Chaisaeng told AFP.

More than two months of heavy rains have deluged provinces across northern and central Thailand and damaged the homes or livelihoods of millions of people, particularly farmers, according to the government.

Huge efforts are now under way to stop the waters from reaching low-lying Bangkok, home to 12 million people, prompting pleas from some residents north of the city for sluice gates to be raised to release floodwater.

Thailand’s ancient capital Ayutthaya, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast and upriver of the capital has seen increasingly serious flooding in recent days after being partially waterlogged for several weeks.

Historic temples have been swamped and a large industrial estate, home to a slew of Japanese electronics and auto parts makers including car giant Honda, has started to flood.

Authorities are evacuating some 200 patients from Ayutthaya’s hospital, according to Science and Technology minister Plodparsob Suraswadi, who signalled a new emphasis on moving people out of the path of flooding in provinces outside Bangkok.

“The plan will be focused on evacuation rather than fighting floods,” he said.

Large amounts of run-off water is expected to reach Bangkok in mid-October, while high tides will make it harder for the floods to flow out to sea. More storms are also expected.

Reporter : AFP   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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