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Image: Monks at Wat Chulamanee in Ayutthaya's Bang Ban district wade through floodwater to collect items floating in the temple compound on October 17.
Three heavily-flooded districts of Ayutthaya have been declared disaster areas as the province is opening up fields to absorb water and lessen the knock-on effects of the floods expected to be felt in Bangkok from Sunday to Monday. Bang Ban, Sena and Phak Hai districts, which are part of the province's major rice-growing areas, are bearing the severest brunt of the inundation. More areas in the province could be declared disaster zones if the floods continue to cause widespread destruction. Only last year, much of Ayutthaya remained under water for weeks. Water was pushed into fields to mitigate flood problems for Bangkok, and the practice is being repeated with the onset of the flood season. Ayutthaya and neighbouring provinces were expecting the worst as Chao Phraya dam in Chai Nat was almost full and had already started releasing water. River water was rising fast and some 50 ancient riverside temples in Ayutthaya were racing against time to put up sand-bag flood walls. However, at some temples the surging floods were impossible to beat.