Worst Floods in a Half-Century in Thailand

(AP) — Workers and volunteers piled sandbags outside buildings in central Bangkok and erected barriers in its subway to ward off possible ...

(AP) — Workers and volunteers piled sandbags outside buildings in central Bangkok and erected barriers in its subway to ward off possible weekend flooding as high water that devastated parts of central Thailand flowed toward the low-lying metropolis.
While the government sought to reassure Bangkok’s 9 million people that the capital would be spared, it also sent sometimes confusing messages that raised anxieties and sent residents on shopping sprees to stockpile food, medicine and other essentials.
The worst floods in a half-century have submerged entire towns across Thailand’s central plains, devastating rice crops and halting hundreds of factories. Some 8.2 million people in 61 of Thailand’s 77 provinces have been affected by the flooding, which has killed 283 people since July.
Captured: Thai Flooding
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An aerial view of the Chaophraya river on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011 in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand. Flood waters have swamped more than two-thirds of the country, submerging rice fields and shutting down auto plants and tech companies like Western Digital Corp., which announced Wednesday it was halting production in Thailand to protect its staff. (AP Photo) 
Captured: Thai Flooding
An elderly woman is evacuated as flooding causes havoc October 9, 2011 in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Around 200 factories closed in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya because of flooding, which is posing a threat to Bangkok as well. Over 260 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Some areas of the country are experiencing the worst flooding in 50 years, mainly in the centre, north and northeast. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Highway signs are displayed along the flooded streets October 9, 2011 in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Around 200 factories closed in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya because of flooding, which is posing a threat to Bangkok as well. Over 260 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Some areas of the country are experiencing the worst flooding in 50 years, mainly in the centre, north and northeast. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) 
Captured: Thai Flooding
A Thai man carries his belongings in a boat as flooding causes havoc October 9, 2011 in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Around 200 factories closed in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya because of flooding, which is posing a threat to Bangkok as well. Over 260 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Some areas of the country are experiencing the worst flooding in 50 years, mainly in the centre, north and northeast. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
This aerial picture shows an under-construction temple surrounded by floodwaters outside the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok on October 11, 2011. Massive floods have left 500 people dead across Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, officials said, as authorities stepped up efforts to reach victims of the unusually heavy monsoon rains. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Thais wade through the waters using an inner tube as flooding causes havoc October 9, 2011 in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Around 200 factories closed in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya because of flooding, which is posing a threat to Bangkok as well. Over 260 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Some areas of the country are experiencing the worst flooding in 50 years, mainly in the centre, north and northeast. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Thais rest under mosquito nets at a makeshift evacuation center as flooding causes havoc October 9, 2011 in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Around 200 factories closed in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya because of flooding, which is posing a threat to Bangkok as well. Over 260 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Some areas of the country are experiencing the worst flooding in 50 years, mainly in the centre, north and northeast. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Thai girls sits in the water while eating as floods continue to cause havoc October 10, 2011 in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Around 200 factories closed in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya because of flooding, which is posing a threat to Bangkok as well. Over 260 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Some areas of the country are experiencing the worst flooding in 50 years, mainly in the centre, north and northeast. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A Thai woman sits amongst her belongings as floods continue to cause havoc October 10, 2011 in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Around 200 factories closed in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya because of flooding, which is posing a threat to Bangkok as well. Over 260 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Some areas of the country are experiencing the worst flooding in 50 years, mainly in the centre, north and northeast. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A Thai man holds his daughter a he wades through the flooded streets October 10, 2011 in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Around 200 factories closed in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya because of flooding, which is posing a threat to Bangkok as well. Over 260 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Some areas of the country are experiencing the worst flooding in 50 years, mainly in the centre, north and northeast. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A Thai man smokes a cigarette as he sits in the flooded streets October 10, 2011 in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Around 200 factories closed in the central Thai province of Ayutthaya because of flooding, which is posing a threat to Bangkok as well. Over 260 people have died in flood-related incidents since late July according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Some areas of the country are experiencing the worst flooding in 50 years, mainly in the centre, north and northeast. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A man carries his child for a boat service as floods continue to hit Pathum Thani province on October 14, 2011 in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok,Thailand. Crews of public workers, soldiers and volunteers are evacuating residents from flooded areas north of Bangkok as efforts continue to protect the capital from increased rainfall and rising tides during the worst floods to hit the country for decades. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A thai resident stands in front of his house as floods continue to hit Pathum Thani province on October 14, 2011 in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok,Thailand. Crews of public workers, soldiers and volunteers are evacuating residents from flooded areas north of Bangkok as efforts continue to protect the capital from increased rainfall and rising tides during the worst floods to hit the country for decades. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Thai residents wade through floodwater as floods continue to hit Pathum Thani province on October 14, 2011 in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok,Thailand. Crews of public workers, soldiers and volunteers are evacuating residents from flooded areas north of Bangkok as efforts continue to protect the capital from increased rainfall and rising tides during the worst floods to hit the country for decades. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Thai residents evacuate buildings as floods continue to hit Pathum Thani province on October 14, 2011 in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok,Thailand. Crews of public workers, soldiers and volunteers are evacuating residents from flooded areas north of Bangkok as efforts continue to protect the capital from increased rainfall and rising tides during the worst floods to hit the country for decades. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Thai soldiers help residents cross a strong stream of floodwaters as floods continue to hit Pathum Thani province on October 14, 2011 in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok,Thailand. Crews of public workers, soldiers and volunteers are evacuating residents from flooded areas north of Bangkok as efforts continue to protect the capital from increased rainfall and rising tides during the worst floods to hit the country for decades. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Thai passengers sit on the bus as floods continue to hit Pathum Thani province on October 14, 2011 in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok,Thailand. Crews of public workers, soldiers and volunteers are evacuating residents from flooded areas north of Bangkok as efforts continue to protect the capital from increased rainfall and rising tides during the worst floods to hit the country for decades. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A young man balances in a tub as floods continue to hit Pathum Thani province on October 14, 2011 in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok,Thailand. Crews of public workers, soldiers and volunteers are evacuating residents from flooded areas north of Bangkok as efforts continue to protect the capital from increased rainfall and rising tides during the worst floods to hit the country for decades. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
This aerial picture shows cars stranded on a partially-submerged fly-over in the central Thai province of Pathum Thani, on the northern outskirts of Bangkok on October 11, 2011. Massive floods have left 500 people dead across Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, officials said, as authorities stepped up efforts to reach victims of the unusually heavy monsoon rains. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A man pushes his motorbike through a strong stream of floodwaters as floods continue to hit Pathum Thani province on October 14, 2011 in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok,Thailand. Crews of public workers, soldiers and volunteers are evacuating residents from flooded areas north of Bangkok as efforts continue to protect the capital from increased rainfall and rising tides during the worst floods to hit the country for decades. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Boat drivers help resident to moving their belongings as floods continue to hit Pathum Thani province on October 14, 2011 in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok,Thailand. Crews of public workers, soldiers and volunteers are evacuating residents from flooded areas north of Bangkok as efforts continue to protect the capital from increased rainfall and rising tides during the worst floods to hit the country for decades. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Thai buddhist monks paddle a small boat as floods continue to hit Pathum Thani province on October 14, 2011 in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok,Thailand. Crews of public workers, soldiers and volunteers are evacuating residents from flooded areas north of Bangkok as efforts continue to protect the capital from increased rainfall and rising tides during the worst floods to hit the country for decades. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Thai residents carrying bags of essential items wait for a transportation as floods continue to hit Pathum Thani province on October 14, 2011 in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok,Thailand. Crews of public workers, soldiers and volunteers are evacuating residents from flooded areas north of Bangkok as efforts continue to protect the capital from increased rainfall and rising tides during the worst floods to hit the country for decades. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
This aerial picture shows cars stranded on a partially-submerged fly-over in the central Thai province of Pathum Thani, on the northern outskirts of Bangkok on October 11, 2011. Massive floods have left 500 people dead across Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, officials said, as authorities stepped up efforts to reach victims of the unusually heavy monsoon rains. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
This aerial picture shows cars sitting on a partially-submerged fly-over at the Honda car factory outside the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok on October 11, 2011. Massive floods have left 500 people dead across Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, officials said, as authorities stepped up efforts to reach victims of the unusually heavy monsoon rains. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
This aerial picture shows a general view of a flooded industrial estate outside the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok on October 11, 2011. Massive floods have left 500 people dead across Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, officials said, as authorities stepped up efforts to reach victims of the unusually heavy monsoon rains. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
This aerial picture shows men leading cows through floodwaters outside the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok on October 11, 2011. Massive floods have left 500 people dead across Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, officials said, as authorities stepped up efforts to reach victims of the unusually heavy monsoon rains. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
This aerial picture shows cars submerged in floodwaters at a Honda car factory outside the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok on October 11, 2011. Massive floods have left 500 people dead across Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, officials said, as authorities stepped up efforts to reach victims of the unusually heavy monsoon rains. (CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
This picture taken on October 12, 2011 shows an elderly woman sitting outside her improvised shack after she lost her house during the ongoing floods in Ayutthaya, 80 kms north of the Thai capital Bangkok. Thailand declared a third of its provinces to be disaster zones, as auto giant Toyota called a halt to work after production was affected by the country's worst flooding in decades. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Members of a Thai rescue team help an elderly woman to evacuate from her home during flooding in Pathum Thani province on October 14, 2011. Thailand's premier moved October 14 to reassure Bangkok's 12 million residents over a looming flood crisis, after one of her ministers briefly sparked panic with an evacuation warning. (PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Thai residents rest at a temporary shelter at Thammasat University during floods in Pathum Thani province, suburban Bangkok, on October 14, 2011. About 110,000 people around the country have sought refuge in shelters in the face of the floods that have destroyed crops, inundated hundreds of factories and damaged the homes and livelihoods of millions of people. (PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A Thai flag hangs outside flooded house, near the Chaopraya river in Bangkok, on October 14, 2011. About 110,000 people around the country have sought refuge in shelters in the face of the floods that have destroyed crops, inundated hundreds of factories and damaged the homes and livelihoods of millions of people. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A Thai man holds his child at a temporary shelter at Thammasat University during floods in Pathum Thani province, suburban Bangkok, on October 14, 2011. About 110,000 people around the country have sought refuge in shelters in the face of the floods that have destroyed crops, inundated hundreds of factories and damaged the homes and livelihoods of millions of people. (PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A Thai market vendor walks holding her lunch through floodwaters at a market, near the Chaopraya river in Bangkok, on October 14, 2011. About 110,000 people around the country have sought refuge in shelters in the face of the floods that have destroyed crops, inundated hundreds of factories and damaged the homes and livelihoods of millions of people. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
An elderly woman travels on a boat near the Chaopraya river in Bangkok, on October 14, 2011. About 110,000 people around the country have sought refuge in shelters in the face of the floods that have destroyed crops, inundated hundreds of factories and damaged the homes and livelihoods of millions of people. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A dog sitS outside a flooded house, near the Chaopraya river in Bangkok, on October 14, 2011. About 110,000 people around the country have sought refuge in shelters in the face of the floods that have destroyed crops, inundated hundreds of factories and damaged the homes and livelihoods of millions of people. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A man fishes near a sleeping Buddha statue submerged in the floods at Lokayasutharam temple in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is warning that rising floodwaters which have wreaked havoc across the nation are now threatening the capital, Bangkok. (AP Photo/Sunti Tehpia) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A man swims behind a submerged Isuzu Motors Ltd. truck on a flooded road outside the Rojana Industrial Park in Ayutthaya, Thailand, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. Floodwaters have swept across 60 of Thailand's 77 provinces over the past two months, swamping factories operated by Honda Motor Co. and Canon Inc. and destroying more than 10 percent of the nation's rice farms. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A woman looks out of a bus window as she is evacuated from an area outside the Rojana Industrial Park in Ayutthaya, Thailand, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. Floodwaters have swept across 60 of Thailand's 77 provinces over the past two months, swamping factories operated by Honda Motor Co. and Canon Inc. and destroying more than 10 percent of the nation's rice farms. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Pedestrians walk past a sandbag barrier outside a shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. Floodwaters have swept across 60 of Thailand's 77 provinces over the past two months, swamping factories operated by Honda Motor Co. and Canon Inc. and destroying more than 10 percent of the nation's rice farms. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A barge is pulled along the Chao Praya river in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. Floodwaters have swept across 60 of Thailand's 77 provinces over the past two months, swamping factories operated by Honda Motor Co. and Canon Inc. and destroying more than 10 percent of the nation's rice farms. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg #
Captured: Thai Flooding
People wait for the bus on a flooded road on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. Floodwaters have swept across 60 of Thailand's 77 provinces over the past two months, swamping factories operated by Honda Motor Co. and Canon Inc. and destroying more than 10 percent of the nation's rice farms. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Members of the Thai military stand near a pile of submerged sandbags on a flooded road outside the Rojana Industrial Park in Ayutthaya, Thailand, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. Floodwaters have swept across 60 of Thailand's 77 provinces over the past two months, swamping factories operated by Honda Motor Co. and Canon Inc. and destroying more than 10 percent of the nation's rice farms. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Villagers are evacuated on a military truck during an evacuation from flood in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Thailand's prime minister warned that rising floodwaters which have wreaked havoc across the nation are now threatening the capital, Bangkok. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
Villagers disembark from a truck at a refugee center during an evacuation from flood in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Thailand's prime minister warned that rising floodwaters which have wreaked havoc across the nation are now threatening the capital, Bangkok. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
An aerial view over Lokayasuttharam Buddhist temple which is submerged in the flood Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011 in Ayutthaya province, central Thailand. Flood waters have swamped more than two-thirds of the country, submerging rice fields and shutting down auto plants and tech companies like Western Digital Corp., which announced Wednesday it was halting production in Thailand to protect its staff. (AP Photo) #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A man walks through a flooded road outside the Rojana Industrial Park in Ayutthaya, Thailand, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. Floodwaters have swept across 60 of Thailand's 77 provinces over the past two months, swamping factories operated by Honda Motor Co. and Canon Inc. and destroying more than 10 percent of the nation's rice farms. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg #
Captured: Thai Flooding
A woman steps over sandbags placed outside a Kasikornbank Pcl branch in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011. Floodwaters have swept across 60 of Thailand's 77 provinces over the past two months, swamping factories operated by Honda Motor Co. and Canon Inc. and destroying more than 10 percent of the nation's rice farms. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

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