As the most severe floodwaters in decades threaten to drown Bangkok's most famous market, observers worry that Thailand’s economy will also suffer.
All across Bangkok – which satellite images show to be a virtual island surrounded by the country’s worst floods in decades – shops are running out of drinking water and nonperishable food as 10 million residents stock-up amid reports of a pending citywide deluge.
And as the city attempts to divert waters in an effort to minimize damages to Thailand's economic hub of Bangkok, Tinnakorn Rujinarong oversees workmen banging together a yard-high barrier meant to keep the floodwaters out of one of the world's biggest flea-markets and one of Thailand's best-known attractions.
Most weekends some 200,000 people sweat and haggle their way through the sauna-like narrow alleys running between Chatuchak Market's 10,000 shops. “Around 100 million baht is spent here every weekend,” says Mr. Tinnakorn, who is the market's deputy director.
IN PICTURES: Thailand's worst flooding in 50 years
As floodwaters threaten to drown the market, observers worry that Thailand’s economy will also suffer.
Barclays Capital estimates that the floods will shave almost 1 percent off Thailand's economic growth for 2011. Bangkok City Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra told TV viewers last night that six additional city districts, including Chatuchak, should prepare to evacuate.