Historic Ayutthaya temple inundated; villagers evacuted

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AYUTTHAYA, Oct 4 —  Waters of Thailand’s Chao Phraya River flooded into a historic temple in the former capital of Siam at around 6am this morning breaching a makeshift sandbag dyke, flooding the temple and its adjacent areas and forcing an urgent evacuation of villagers living near the temple.

Ayutthaya Governor Witthaya Pewpong and Fine Arts Office 3 Director Supoj Phrommanote inspected the scene but could not yet reclaim the historic site as the water is still high and strong currents are passing through.

The governor said the authorities planned to build a temporary dyke along the Ban Pom-Klong Takiean Road and then pump water out of the temple and its grounds. It was expected that by 6pm, Wat Chaiwatthanaram, one of the most imposing of Thailand’s historic Buddhist monasteries, would return to normal.

However, he expressed worry over the continued rising of Chao Phraya River which is likely to worsen the threat to Thailand’s historic heartland.

Some 400 households reportedly evacuated after floodwater poured into Wat Chaiwatthanaram at about dawn today.

Meanwhile, in Chiang Mai’s Hot district, flooding remains critical as some areas were under almost two metres of water while the roads linking districts were also flooded and inaccessible for vehicles.

Hundreds of vehicles were stranded because of the floodwaters.

Even though the water level in Mae Chaem River was receding to almost one metre above normal, the flood has extended to affect wider areas and has reached Hang Dong district.

The water level in some areas reached a depth of almost two metres, severely affecting local residents needing water and food.

The Chiang Mai-Hot Road was submerged under one metre of water and hundreds of vehicles were stranded in Omkoi and Doi Tao districts.

The Hot-Doi Tao and Hot-Mae Sariang (Mae Hong Son) routes were also impassable.