Asia-Pacific

Bangkok floods: 'We may be evacuated'

Thailand is facing its worst floods in decades, with more than 340 people dead and a third of all provinces inundated.

Three months of heavy monsoon rain have left swathes of the country flooded. Northern and central areas were worst hit initially but now the run-off is draining south to the sea, threatening Bangkok.

Derek Armstrong, a teacher, lives to the north of the capital and contacted the BBC with his experiences and images of the flooding.

"My village is on the Rangsit Nakon Nayok highway in Pathumthani province, just to the north of Bangkok.

It is normally a very busy road linking Bangkok with north-east Thailand. The highway itself is forming a natural barrier, so on one side it is flooded and on the other relatively dry.

The area to the north is an industrial estate and flat, so there's not much flood defence there. The water is starting to top out on the clay dykes and the drains are bringing up water as well.

The level of the klong (canal) is now climbing up to near the brim of the temporary sandbag/clay dykes. The road is also flooding over both sides and spilling into the canal as a result of water run-off from the north. Water is now seeping into our lane in the village from the north-east perimeter wall, as the adjacent rice field is now flooded.

Of the 280 houses on our estate, my wife and I estimate only about 80 are still occupied. There's 14 behind where we live and only three of them are occupied.

Until today it was only the public schools that had closed, but now the ministry of education has closed all schools, which includes private ones like the Regent's School in Bangkok where I teach.

We live on an estate which is mostly working professionals who have SUVs or pick-up trucks. They're the only thing that can get through the water - we've only got a small car which would be no good.

I've not seen them loading fridges or televisions onto them. Most people live in two-storey buildings here and have moved their goods to the first floor, as they've been advised to do.

We've been in a state of preparedness for the last 10 days. The last two weeks we've been building clay dykes and filling sandbags.

Some people have even been using children's plasticine to seal their windows. One person has even build a concrete wall around their property, using a step ladder.

But there's also those who are laid back about it and have made no preparations at all. There's a mindset here that says 'whatever may be' - a sense of not grumbling but getting on with it.

We had floods in April that were waist deep but the last flood in this scale was probably 1995. They are used to dealing with flooding

On the sandbag line people are laughing and smiling. I saw people sitting on them last night smoking and having a beer.

If we are evacuated we'll go to the end of the village where a military truck will take us to an aid centre of Bangkok where we can make arrangements. We're considering booking into an apartment but, as we've got a large dog, it can be challenging to find somewhere that is pet friendly."

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