Thailand calls holiday to allow escape from floods

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 metres (nearly five feet) of water if barriers collapsed.
Thailand calls holiday to allow escape from floods

The Cabinet declared October 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.

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.

Seven industrial estates in Ayutthaya, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani provinces bordering Bangkok have also been forced to close, causing billions of dollars of damage, disrupting supply chains for industry and putting about 650,000 people temporarily out of work.

The Cabinet announced a 325 billion baht (US$10.6 billion) budget on Tuesday to help rebuild the country, mostly for small and medium-sized enterprises, small vendors and individuals.