BANGKOK, November 6 (Itar-Tass) —— The flood in Bangkok has reached the street, in which the Thai prime minister resides, and keeps spreading towards the city center.
The water circumvents dams and oozes through sewage collectors. The streets are filled with brown-black stinky mud. The water was clean and see-through only two weeks ago when the flood started coming from the provinces north of Bangkok.
The Bangkok governor announced the mandatory evacuation from four more residential areas of the city. He said the situation was critical in the Nong Khaem and Phasi Charoen districts, and all of their residents would be evacuated.
Floodwater reaches street of Thai premier’s residence in Bangkok
The streets are filled with brown-black stinky mud
About a fourth of Bangkok is flooded, and the drinking water shortage is critical. The quality of tap water differs from one district to another, but even in the central areas tap water smells of mud, rot, chemicals and motor oil.
The flood death rate has topped 500 in Thailand. Local authorities officially confirmed 506 deaths to Itar-Tass on Sunday. They said that two more people were missing.
The flood continues in 25 out of 76 provinces, including Bangkok. It has affected 1.15 million families or more than 3 million people.
A series of tropical storms and pouring rains triggered the disaster in the end of July. The damage is estimated from $10 billion to $18 billion.
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a travel alert for tourists.
“The situation is critical in the Thai capital city of Bangkok. Many areas of the city are flooded or face the flood hazard. There are disruptions in the delivery of drinking water and food,” the ministry said in the beginning of the week.
“Meanwhile, Thai resorts popular with Russian tourists – Pattaya and Phuket, Samui and Chang – are not within the flood zone. The flood-proof Suvarnabhumi international airport of Bangkok is working in the regular mode,” the ministry said.
“The Russian embassy in Thailand is monitoring the developments and maintaining close contact with the local natural calamity management center, the authorities and the police,” the ministry said.
“The Russian Foreign Ministry insistently recommends Russian tourists to thoroughly evaluate the expediency of their trips to Thailand and to abstain from visiting Bangkok. All the Russian citizens visiting Thailand must be careful,” the ministry said.
“Despite the comforting report of the Russian Foreign Ministry that the flood has spared popular resorts, tour operators report a decline in the number of tourists going to Thailand,” the Association of Tour Operators said.
The Russian embassy in Thailand has no information about Russian citizens possibly hurt in the flood, an embassy source told Itar-Tass earlier.
The embassy is closely monitoring the situation, including that in Bangkok, he said.
Russians appeal to the embassy for information only, in particular, they are interested in the situation in resorts. The embassy maintains permanent contact with the local authorities.
The tour industry said that the interest of Russian tourists in vacations in Thailand grew in recent years. Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Samui and Krabi are the most popular tourist destinations.
The Federal Tourism Agency said that 233,113 Russians visited Thailand last year, which was nearly 30,000 tourists more than in 2009.
In all, more than 6 million Russian tourists spend vacations abroad in the first half of this year, the Association said with the reference to data from the Federal State Statistic Service.
The total number of Russians who made foreign trips in that period exceeded 18 million, which was 15% more than in January-June 2010, the Association said.
About 70% of all trips were made to countries outside the former Soviet Union territory, and the rest were made to CIS member states. Over 50% of all trips were made with personal invitations, and slightly more than 30% of all travelers were tourists.
According to the Association, the most popular destinations in the first half of 2011 were Turkey (visited by more than one million Russians) and China (over 600,000 tourists). Egypt ranked third with about 500,000 Russian tourists.
The altered situation in Egypt influenced preferences of Russian tourists, the Association said. “Due to the travel alert for Egypt, many tourism destinations showed unprecedented dynamics. For instance, the number of tourists visiting Cuba doubled to 46,000, while the number of tourists that preferred vacations in the Dominican Republic grew by almost 60% to 52,000,” the Association said.