And the News Floods In

 Rescue workers were diverted from flood relief work yesterday to deal with the collapse of a 6 storey condominium in the Thong Lo area. The tragedy was initially blamed on ‘overloading’ the upper floors of the near-new structure.

‘We’re seeing more and more cases like this,’ said a rescue worker. ‘People have been stocking up against the floods, but they sometimes go too far. As far as we can tell, the residents had been bulk buying bottled water, stacking the cases from floor to ceiling.’

Preliminary estimates say that the structure was subjected to stresses equivalent to a full-size swimming pool added to each floor. There was enough drinking water to last the residents approximately 3 and a half years.

Warning noises from the collapsing building gave residents time to flee, mercifully preventing any deaths or serious injuries. Clutching bottles of water, residents denied any responsibility for the disaster and appealed to the government for help in finding temporary accommodation, a re-supply of drinking water, and most urgently, access to a toilet.

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As flood levels rose in and around Don Mueang Airport, the government’s Flood Relief Operations Centre found itself increasingly remote from the disaster. Access to the airport by road was cut last Friday by rising waters that turned Vibhavadi Rangsit Road into a medium size river.

‘We used to be able to get in and out through the elevated tollway,’ explained one official. ‘But that’s now completely blocked by motorists parking their vehicles out of the floods.’

Water levels forced engineers to switch off the electricity supply as a safety measure, making it impossible for FROC to maintain contact with the outside world. ‘We managed until the batteries in our mobiles went dead. Now we can’t re-charge them. We have no idea what’s going on apart from what we can see from the control tower.’

The few remaining volunteers organizing relief supplies have been detailed to shift donated goods to higher floors. ‘We don’t know when we will be able to resume shipments to areas in need,’ according to a spokesperson. ‘But we’ve calculated that we can hold out here for months with little difficulty. As long as we don’t get tired of instant noodles.’

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Bangkok’s latest must-have auto accessory is proving a boon to car thieves.

Police were called to a house in Bang Plad when a car-owner claimed his car had ‘shrunk’.

To save his late-model S-class Mercedes from the floods, he bought one of the large plastic bags on offer to safeguard vehicles against rising water. Two weeks ago, when flood warnings were sounded for his area, he inched his car into the bag, tied up the ends and left his house to stay temporarily with a relative.

When he heard that the waters had receded he returned home. His spent the first day clearing mud and garbage from his property before untying the bag enveloping his car. He was shocked to find, instead of his Mercedes, a 12-year-old Honda City.

‘I could hardly believe what I was seeing. At first, I thought the floods had affected my car, but I now realize that someone has stolen my car and replaced it with this,’ he complained. ‘The bodywork’s in a shocking state, we can’t get the engine to turn over and they left some partly eaten food inside so it stinks awful.’

Police have entered the details of the stolen Mercedes on their database of missing vehicles but are not hopeful of an early arrest. ‘Our men are already struggling with the floods,’ explained one policeman. ‘Our senior officers have to take care of their own Benzes first.’