Flood Threatens 400 Yr Old Wat Chai Wattanaram in Ayutthaya

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Flooding in the old Thai capital of Ayutthaya could threaten ancient Buddhist temples and residents have been told to be ready to evacuate as a storm approaches.

Flooding since August has affected about 2.4 million people in a third of Thailand's provinces, and the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said 224 people have been killed.

The 400-year-old Chai Wattanaram temple in Ayutthaya - a World Heritage site - is by the Chao Phraya river, which flows down to the capital Bangkok 105km to the south.

Ayutthaya Governor Wittaya Pewpong said more than 200 of the 500 temples in the province had been affected by floods.

Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome said the damage to historical sites around the country was at least 100 million baht (S$4.2 million).

Flooding has also affected Bangkok, which sits only 2m above sea level.

The Chao Phraya river has overflowed into roads in some areas, although the authorities have reinforced its banks to prevent serious flooding. Several trains to the north had been suspended because of the flooding.

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