Thailand officials warned millions of residents in Bangkok on Friday to move their belongings to higher ground, as floodwaters began to inundate parts of the capital's outer districts.
Officials and eyewitnesses said Friday that water has risen to knee-level after seeping over canals in Bangkok's northern Lak-Si district, which is about 16 kilometers from the city center.
VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Thailand
On Thursday, the government ordered the opening of the city's floodgates to drain water through the canals and relieve pressure on dikes that had kept water out of the city for several days.
Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told the capital city to brace for floods, saying the government "cannot stop the water forever," and that the canals running through the city to the Gulf of Thailand could overflow into the streets.
Many residents in Bangkok are rushing to stock up on food and drinking water while those in the flooded north have already fled their homes.
Thailand's government on Friday said that 342 have been killed in the floods, which are the worst the country has seen in decades.
Months of heavy monsoon rains have soaked large parts of Southeast Asia, forcing millions from their homes. Hundreds have also died in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.