Bangkok escapes worst of Thailand flooding

Most residents of Bangkok are relaxing after a predicted flood catastrophe in the Thai capital failed to materialize over the weekend.

A third of country is submerged, up to a metre deep in areas

Most residents of Bangkok are relaxing after a predicted flood catastrophe in the Thai capital failed to materialize over the weekend.

Soldiers and civilians rushed to reinforce collapsing sandbag walls in different parts of Bangkok on Sunday, but for the most part, the city’s flood defences held and the city core remained dry.

Despite that, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra did not declare victory and instead remained cautious.

Residential areas in the north of Bangkok are under a metre of water. (Kyodo/Reuters)

"It depends on the levels of the sea, and sometimes, it's about the stability of the way we put sandbags. Hopefully, the sandbags are strong enough. If water [doesn't flow over] the sandbags, it should be OK," she said Sunday.

On Saturday, tide surges reached the tip of the city’s 2.5-metre concrete flood barriers.

Thousands of Bangkok residents left the city this week on a government-ordered five-day holiday, which made the metropolis a little less crowded over the weekend.

Bombings in southern provinces

Attackers believed to be Muslim insurgents killed four people and set off a string of homemade bombs in Thailand’s south.

Police Col. Kwandee Chimplee said four suspected insurgents riding two motorcycles shot dead two men and a woman at a grocery store in the city of Narathiwat Sunday morning. Another man was shot dead in neighbouring Songkhla province by gunmen on a pickup truck..

Suspected militants also detonated homemade bombs at 10 spots in five districts in Narathiwat province Sunday evening causing property damage but no casualties, said police Maj. Gen. Chaitat Intanujit. The targets included grocery stores, shops and residences.

-Associated Press

While it is business as usual for a majority of Bangkok’s nine million residents, a third of Thailand is submerged in what has been the worst flooding in 60 years.

Hundreds of thousands are struggling in the north and west of the capital.

People in those areas are wading metre-deep in waters contaminated with garbage, sewage and chemicals washed out from deluged factories. Many are already suffering skin rashes, raising fears of water-borne diseases.

More than 380 people have died in the floods and another 110,000 are displaced. Hundreds of thousands have been put out of work.

"The Lord Buddha taught us not to be negligent, we must always prepare," monk Phramaha Abhin said at Bangkok’s famed Temple of the Dawn.

"He also taught us not to foolishly fear that which hasn’t happened yet."

Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs is advising against "non-essential travel to Bangkok and flood-affected areas."

The advisory doesn't extend to Suvarnabhumi International Airport, a busy international travel hub that is still operating.