Palaces For The People
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Floods hit 200,000 in Thailand, put royal palace in danger

Floods hit 200,000 in Thailand, put royal palace in danger
Agence France-Presse
Bangkok, October 28
Thai soldiers were scrambling on Tuesday to save a royal palace from floodwaters that have submerged parts of southern and central Thailand, affecting more than 200,000 people and leaving one boy drowned.

Some 209,633 people in Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ratchaburi and Kanchanaburi provinces have been hit by heavy flooding brought on by days of torrential rains.

Army troops have been ordered to place thousands of sandbags to form a protective dyke around the Phra Ram Ratchaniwet palace in Petchaburi province, Thai army spokesman Somkuan Saengpattaranetr said.

"This palace is an important historical landmark and one of the most famous tourist destinations in the province," Somkuan said. "If the floodwaters get in to the compound it will damage the palace."

The European-style palace, one of several in the kingdom and completed in 1916 during the reign of King Rama VI, is located in the central city of Petchaburi just 50 metres from the overflowing Petchaburi River.

Thailand's royal household has helped in relief efforts, providing emergency food aid to families most severely affected by the flooding.

The damage bill from the severe weather has topped 25 million dollars, according to the department of disaster prevention and mitigation.

A 13-year-old boy drowned on Friday in Ratchaburi, the department said.

Some 292 roads, including main north-south arteries along the Thai peninsula, have been inundated, while the sole railway linking the capital Bangkok to southern districts remains closed.

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