The complex network of flood defenses shielding Thailand’s capital from the worst floods in nearly 60 years mostly held on Saturday as coastal high tides hit their peak.
While the city centre was protected, Bangkok’s northern outskirts remained inundated along with much of the rest of the country.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Saturday that the floodwaters that have wreaked havoc to provinces north of Bangkok in the last several weeks had started to recede, and she urged citizens to let the crisis take its course.
“We have the good news that the situation in the central region has improved as runoff water gradually decreased,” she said. “I thank people and urge them to be more patient in case this weekend is significant because of the high tide.”
Fear gripped Bangkok early in the day as tides along the Gulf of Thailand crested at about 9am and pushed the city’s main waterway, the Chao Phraya River, to its brink.
Bangkok remains under threat from coastal high tides set to swell the Chao Praya river early Saturday evening, Sunday morning and Monday, continuing to put more pressure on the city’s dikes and sluices. Still, no major breaches were reported in the defenses after Saturday morning’s expected peak.
City official Adisak told the Associated Press the city’s concrete barriers “are efficiently protecting Bangkok from deluge,” though he said smaller, private dikes might yet fail and breach the city centre.
“The situation is so far under control,” he said.
Overflows so far have lightly inundated riverside streets from Chinatown to the famed Temple of the Emerald Buddha.