Flooding in the commercial heart of Pathum Thani reached a critical level yesterday, with government offices, shops and restaurants under almost one metre of water.
The Chao Phraya River burst its banks and overflowed into downtown areas in Muang district. Floodwater was 60-80cm deep in most areas.
The provincial governor’s residence, the district office and Muang district police station were badly hit.
Officials and workers rushed to put up sandbags at government offices.
The situation deteriorated quickly as businesses on Pattanasamphan Road, the province’s economic centre, were completely inundated.
More than 30 restaurants were under almost one metre of water. The road was impassable to small vehicles.
Floodwater rose above one metre at Charoenpol Market in the afternoon, while a bus terminal in tambon Bang Prok in Muang district was overwhelmed by surging water.
Boats were the only mode of transport in the area.
Many bridges in the province turned into parking lots. Authorities urged motorists to park their vehicles at Pathum Thani University.
Affected residents were told to move to a temporary shelter at Pathum Wilai School. About 40 residents turned up at the school, which can accommodate 500-600 people.
Overflow from Khlong Prem Prachakorn canal flooded canalside houses in Sam Khok district, forcing residents to move their belongings to higher ground.
Workers at Navanakorn Industrial Estate put up sandbags to protect it from floodwater from nearby Ayutthaya and overflow from Khlong Prem Prachakorn.
Floodwater covered several sections of Kanchanaphisek Road in Sam Khok district, making it impassable for small vehicles.
Much of the floodwater from Pathum Thani is expected to flow into Khlong Rangsit. Volunteers have been stacking sandbags along the canal, which is the defence line bordering Bangkok’s northernmost district of Don Muang.
Authorities voiced confidence that they have everything under control.
Khlong Rangsit is connected to the water gate built across the man-made Khlong Prem Prachakorn, the tributary canal that runs to inner Bangkok through Don Muang district.
The gate is securely shut, making water in Khlong Rangsit at least one metre higher than the level in Khlong Prem Prachakorn.
Authorities fear that if the water gate fails to hold, water will gush into the nearby Muang Ake housing estate and other heavily populated communities in Don Muang and Sai Mai districts.
Tenants of nearby housing estates have collected cash donations to buy food for volunteers and military personnel who are working day and night to build an embankment of sandbags and reinforce flood barriers in the inner section of Khlong Prem Prachakorn.
The canal runs parallel to another canal, Khlong Prapa, which supplies raw water for the city’s tap water production.
One resident of Thaninthorn housing estate said she was stricken by fear of the flood and had not slept for two days. The military and the volunteers were their only hope of keeping the flood at bay, she said.