The U.S. Department of State is issuing a travel alert to U.S. citizens traveling to Thailand, due to the severe flooding that has taken place since July.
According to the Wall Street Journal, this is the worst flooding that the country has seen in 50 years, and tens of thousands of Bangkok residents are fleeing the capital due to the waist-high waters running through the streets. The AP reports that several men "floated down a flooded road in a makeshift boat made of empty oil barrels tied to a regular plank." Since the flooding began almost 400 lives have been claimed and the country has taken on billions of dollars of damage.
Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told reporters that, "The crisis we're facing today is the most critical natural disaster that ever happened in Thai history," writes Bloomberg. The government is toying with the idea of cutting channels through Bangkok's major roads in order to drain the city.
Transportation has been limited in the affected regions and the Department of State recommends against all but essential travel to these regions. The regions include metropolitan Bangkok, Sukhothai, Pichit, Phitsanulok Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Chainat, Singhburi, ANgthong, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Lopburi, Sara Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Pracheen Buri, Chacherngsao, Suphan Buri, Nakhon Pathom, Kamphang Peth and Tak.
Most of the tourist destinations, such as Phuket and Chiang Mai, are unaffected and Bangkok's main airport, Suvarnabhumi, is operating normally. "The flooding in Thailand is something we have been monitoring very closely with our on-site operations team," Steve Born, vice president of marketing for the Globus family of brands tells Travel Agent. "And, we're happy to report that, at this point, none of our clients have been affected by the floods. Further, we do not anticipate any needed changes to our upcoming Globus and Monograms scheduled itineraries, based on the feedback we've received from our team in Thailand."
Here is a video provided by the Associated Press of residents fleeing Bangkok.
Stay tuned to Travel Agent Central as we continue coverage throughout the day.