The Thai capital Bangkok is under threat from the country's worst flooding in 50 years.
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The authorities said they were succeeding in diverting floodwaters from Bangkok into the sea, but with canals full and heavy rain forecast for next week, there are still fears the centre of the city could be hit.
Bangkok's suburbs in the north are deluged and the government has opened some floodgates to allow water to run into eastern and western areas in the hope of alleviating pressure on the centre of the city.
The floods, which have led to the deaths of 342 people, are the first real test for Thailand's politically inexperienced prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, whose government has had to form alliances with the military and political rivals to co-ordinate the relief effort. Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother, was overthrown by the army in 2006.
The cost of the flooding is likely to exceed £2bn and the prime minister is wary of declaring a state of emergency because of the effect it might have on the country's investors.
"It would ruin investors' confidence, which is quite weak already," she said. "If I declare a state of emergency, I would be telling the world that we can't help each other."
Thousands of people in northern Bangkok are moving valuables and electrical equipment to higher floors and evacuees are pitching tents in the city's Don Muang airport.
In the provinces of Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi, people are using boats to evacuate their homes, some carrying the elderly on their shoulders. Many shops in central Bangkok have sold out of water and instant noodles. Some people have stayed at home to protect their houses and banks and shops in Bangkok's business districts are piling up sandbags in case the canals burst.
"If the floodwater reaches Bangkok, we're looking at five to ten times the damage we've already seen," Bangkok Bank's executive vice-president, Bhakorn Vanuptikul, told Reuters. "The damage would be immeasurable because of the disruption to people's lives."
A third of Thailand's provinces are under water, covering 4m acres. There has been some success in diverting floodwaters around the east and west of the capital, but people in the northern Don Muang and Lak Si districts have been told to be on alert and ready to move.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra has said that the main road from the north to the heart of the city is the biggest concern because of fears that canals could overflow and flood it.
The start of the new term for 116 schools, scheduled for 1 November, has been delayed indefinitely. Thailand's tourism industry has been largely unaffected, but the country's car industry and rice exports have been hit.