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Bangkok city readies as Thai floods close in

world Updated: Oct 15, 2011 01:06 IST

Reuters
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Thai workers and soldiers raced to finish defensive walls around inner Bangkok on Thursday as floodwater that has covered about a third of Thailand threatened the capital.

At least 283 people have been killed around Thailand by heavy monsoon rain floods and mudslides since late July and in the past week several huge industrial estates north of Bangkok have been inundated adding to the damage to the economy.

After a meeting with ministers army chief Prayuth Chanocha told reporters that flood barriers in three vulnerable locations in Bangkok had almost been completed.

"We talked about evacuation plans to help people living near the Chao Phraya river. If there s an emergency we re ready to act" he said.

"The worry now is that from today until October 19 there will be a high tide and the important thing is to push water out to the sea as fast as possible."

Bangkok accounts for about 41 percent of Thailand s economy and any serious disruption to life in the capital could cause growth forecasts to be slashed further.Consumer confidence fell in September because of the floods and could plunge in October, according to economists at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

The province of Ayutthaya to the north of Bangkok has been badly hit and at least three big industrial estates there have closed temporarily.

A Nikon Corp digital SLR factory and a Honda Motor Co Ltd assembly plant have closed.

The north northeast and central plains of Thailand have been worst hit and Bangkok - which is only two metres (6.5 ft) above sea level - is in danger as water overflows from reservoirs in the north swelling the Chao Phraya river.

Some outer areas of greater Bangkok have already flooded but authorities hope the centre will be saved by existing defensive structures plus three new walls, which will help channel water to the east and west of the city into the sea.

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