BANGKOK--Wat Chaiwattanaram, part of a centuries-old temple complex that is a World Heritage site, is under threat from the worst flooding in recent memory.
The Buddhist temple, which dates from the 17th century, is inundated to a depth of about 2 meters.
Flooding has caused extensive damage across Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya province, a major tourist destination in Thailand.
Other temples in the complex have also been partially inundated.
As water levels kept rising, the provincial government on Oct. 5 urged residents to prepare for evacuation.
"My house has been in water for a full month," said Jaturaphat, 62, who lives near Wat Chaiwattanaram temple. "I have never experienced anything like this."
Jaturaphat has been forced to live on the second floor of his inundated house. All around, roads have become rivers. He uses a boat to stock up on food, drinking water and other items.
The area, which faces the Chao Phraya river, experiences floods once every several years. But this year, the flooding has been much worse than anyone can remember.
Earlier this month, river water overflowed embankments that protected the temple.
The grounds of the temple turned into a swamp, with only brick towers and walls sticking out of the water surface.
Thai soldiers and firefighters had intended to begin reinforcing the embankments and draining water on Oct. 6, but the plan had to be canceled because the incoming water flows were too powerful.
Suburban industrial zones are also affected by the flooding and some have been forced to abandon their operations. Japanese-affiliated firms account for about 80 percent of all operators in each of the industrial estates.
It is difficult to tell when flood waters will begin to recede, because water is being discharged intermittently from dams upstream where water levels are at capacity levels, a provincial official said.
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