Flood barriers protecting Bangkok are almost overflowing and worries in the city are high that they could fail in the coming hours.
Thailand is suffering its worst flooding in half a century, triggered by unusually heavy monsoon rains which have already killed at least 373 people, and left 113,000 homeless with 720,000 needing medical attention.
Now the 12 million inhabitants of Bangkok have been told to flee, and make for high ground.
“It should have been better after a week of stopping the water from getting into the city. But it was not. The water levels keep rising and on the news they were saying that more water is to come, so I left,” said one resident.
Bangkok also provides the nation with 40 percent of its GDP. If it is flooded, the economic damage will be immense.
Fifty thousand troops are standing by to help with the evacuation, which could take place this weekend.
In the immediate future the government, only in office for two months, has to cope with the vast numbers of refugees and ensure their health and safety. With bad weather continuing, the task appears enormous.