Panicked residents of Bangkok are scrambling to leave Thailand's capital city after flood warnings predict the situation worsening over the weekend.
A five-day holiday has been declared to allow residents to relocate, leaving roads gridlocked. Military vehicles provided to help evacuees are overcrowded. Some residents are attempting to escape by paddle boat, inner tube or rubber raft.
Cutting channels over five major roads allowing flood water to drain through the less populated eastern areas is one idea proposed to spare the more densely populated parts of Bangkok.
"Making a quick decision without knowing the impact is risky," Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
Thailand's national bank has slashed its growth forecasts from 4.1 percent to 2.6 per cent, with fears that this could be lowered further in November. Many factories and businesses have been forced to close, prompting the changing projection from the Bank of Thailand
The worst hit areas of the city have had official instructions to evacuate. In three northern districts more than 90 per cent of homes and buildings are below water after dykes failed.
Thai officials have told citizens that there are no parts of Bangkok that it can guarantee to be safe from flooding.
Those left behind are struggling to cope with the disaster. Some shops are rationing food, and supplies of water are running low.
More than 400 people have been reported killed. Neighbouring Cambodia and Burma have also been badly affected. In Thailand alone, 10,000 have been displaced.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who has only been in office for two months, has been criticised for being too complacent.
"It seems like we're fighting against the forces of nature, massive floodwater that is causing damage to several of our dykes," she said.
"The truth is, we need to let it flow naturally out to the sea, and what we can do now is to manage it, so that it flows slowly, otherwise everybody will suffer."
Shinawatra's voice shook and she was accused of crying, something she vehemently denied.
"No, I haven't cried and I won't,” she said. “I'll be strong to solve this problem for the Thai people. Right now we need to release floodwater to the sea as soon as possible and we need a quick rehabilitation plan.”
The domestic airport has been forced to shut its runways. Evacuees who sought shelter there have since been moved.
However the government aid centre, stationed on the second floor of the airport, will remain open for the time being.
Though the international airport remains open, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential travel to the city of Bangkok and the twenty-six provinces in Thailand currently affected by the flooding.