Thailand races to defend Bangkok from floods

More than 700,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged.

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Workers in Thailand are racing to complete floodwalls of sandbags on the outskirts of Bangkok to stop the country's worst floods in years from inundating parts of the capital.

Further north, Thailand's plains are also severely flooded.

In the province of Ayutthaya - one of the worst-affected areas - people have been moving to evacuation shelters.

At least 270 people from across Thailand have died in the floods since July.

Heavy monsoon rains, floods and mudslides have affected 58 of Thailand's 77 provinces since July, particularly the north, north-east and central plains, and 30 provinces are inundated.

Monsoon flooding, typhoons and storms have killed hundreds of people in the past four months across south and south-east Asia, China and Japan.

Low-lying capital

At the scene

The car park in front of the provincial government building here has been turned into a relief centre. There are tented canvas awnings that have been set up, and inside all the donated relief supplies are being kept dry.

I can see a tower of egg cartons, bags of rice, some fresh vegetables and volunteers from the Red Cross in front of me here are cooking a hot meal for people who have had to be evacuated.

The military is on hand here as well. They are helping with the evacuation and trying to organise things as best they can, but even here on the outskirts of the car park, the flood waters are encroaching. I am up to my ankles in water at the moment, and it is gradually moving its way into the car park. So I do not know how long they are going to be able to keep this as a dry area.

Thai workers are hurrying to fill sandbags and complete three crucial floodwalls to protect Bangkok from water flowing down from the north of the country.

Rescue workers hastily built a floodwall in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok, where strong currents burst a river embankment, flooding homes.

About 2,000 people have crammed into an evacuation centre in Pathum Thani, many from the neighbouring province of Ayutthaya.

High estuary tides are also expected to arrive in Bangkok in the coming days.

Bangkok is only two metres (6.5 ft) above sea level, and the government is trying to tackle a shortage of sandbags for flood defences.

Supermarket shelves have been cleared by shoppers of basic items such as rice, bottled water, pork and chicken.

Flood damage to agricultural land in the north of the country is expected to push up food prices, rice in particular.

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