With the outskirts already covered in water that continues to rise, people in Bangkok are bracing themselves should the flooding hit the capital.
Much of Thailand’s main city is only two metres above sea level, and surrounding embankments are being fortified with sandbags. Main canals are being drained and new ones dug to divert the incoming water out to the sea. Water has been released from nearby dams to help prevent the risk of flooding and a four kilometre flood barrier has been built.
Three provinces just north of the capital have already been deluged, causing residents to be evacuated by boat.
Bangkok has a population of 12 million and many of them are panic buying food such as tinned goods and rice, emptying supermarket shelves. Shopkeeper Duangkampa Tanchareon said: “I’ve got to keep doing business. I don’t know what else I can do. But the inside is flooded and there’s lots of damage.”
Twenty-five of Thailand’s 77 provinces have been badly affected. Close to 300 people are dead and the damage is estimated to be more than two billion euros. The weeks of heavy rain have also disrupted the country’s economy, with several manufacturers shutting their plants.