Bangkok on alert as 70,000 homes flooded in Thailand

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Thai authorities on Tuesday rushed to protect parts of Bangkok from floodwaters that have already inundated 70,000 homes and killed six people in the country’s northern and central provinces.

Tropical storm Dianmu has caused flooding in 30 provinces, with the kingdom’s central region the worst hit, the Thai Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said.

The level of the Chao Phraya River — which snakes through Bangkok after winding almost 400 kilometres from the north — is steadily rising as authorities release water from dams further upstream.

Soldiers on Tuesday set up barriers and sandbags to protect ancient archaeological ruins and landmarks as well as neighbourhoods in the old royal capital Ayutthaya, some 60 km (40 miles) north of Bangkok.

There are hopes Bangkok can avoid a repeat of the catastrophic 2011 monsoon season, when it experienced its worst flooding in decades — a fifth of the city was underwater and more than 500 people died.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says it is closely monitoring the Chao Phraya’s water level and has water pumps and sandbags ready.

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