Thailand calls holiday to allow escape from floods

By REUTERS
October 25, 2011 21:49

 
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BANGKOK - Thailand announced a five-day holiday on Tuesday to give people the chance to escape floods closing in on Bangkok as the prime minister warned that the capital could face an inundation of 1.5 meters (nearly five feet) of water if barriers collapsed.

The cabinet declared Oct. 27-31 a holiday in Bangkok and 20 provinces affected by the country's worst flooding in 50 years as weekend high tides in the Gulf of Thailand could complicate efforts to divert water from the low-lying capital.

Financial markets will remain open.

As water levels climbed, some of those already evacuated were preparing to be evacuated again, with 4,000 people sheltering at a northern Bangkok airport told they would be moved to the eastern province of Chon Buri.

The floods have killed at least 366 people since mid-July and disrupted the lives of nearly 2.5 million, with more than 113,000 in shelters and 720,000 seeking medical attention.

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