Thailand’s floods have killed at least 442 people, and Bangkok is bracing itself for floodwaters to hit the underground subway system and cause problems throughout the city.
The capital is in a dire state, with more than 20 percent of the city submerged, and floodwaters carrying rotten animal carcasses and industrial waste to the center, the Associated Press reported. Many fear an outbreak of disease would be catastrophic for the tightly packed 12 million strong population.
The Bangkok Metro System is warning that water surges are approaching the central business district, and should water levels rise above 40 centimeters, a number of subway stations are going to have to close.
City workers erected steel barriers in the subway stations to protect against inundation, but it will not stop the floodwaters from crashing into the city center and sweeping through the track lines.
Traders have pressured authorities to reopen Chatuchak Weekend Market, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the nation, but officials warned the area is also in danger of flooding, and may pose the same disease outbreak risks.
Almost 1.7 million people have been evacuated from 12 districts in the area so far, which is creating huge problems for the government. The shelters that have been erected are unable to accommodate a large portion of the displaced population. Food and drinking water shortages are becoming a big issue, as well.
Clashes erupted last week when angry residents attacked a floodgate outside the city, trying to let some of the water out that had submerged their homes. They damaged some of the dikes with pickaxes and hammers, but security guards eventually managed to get a hold of the situation.
Officials later ordered the gate to be repaired. In the past week, the waters have risen in the northern and western areas.
A potential closing of the subway system is set to heap further misery upon the Thai people, many of whom are already experiencing skin and fungal infections from the water, and fear the situation might only get worse.