Thailand has approved a five-day holiday for its residents and urged them to protect their homes, assess and look after their property and evacuate to safer places Tuesday.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has said the affected government officials and company employees would also need time to take care of their family members and belongings. The holiday will take effect in 21 provinces - namely, Sukhothai, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Chachoengsao, Suphan Buri, Nakhon Pathom, Kamphaeng Phet, Tak, and Bangkok.

However, the Flood Relief Operations Center will remain open, and officials within the center will continue their duty as usual. The government has switched to a crisis mode as a massive run-off will arrive in the capital on October 26, coinciding with a high tide on October 28.

According to the Emergency Operation Center for Flood, Storms and Landslide, at present there are 28 flood-affected provinces in Thailand with 11 provinces in the central region, seven in the North, another seven in the Northeast, and three in the East. The flooding situation has affected almost 2.5 million people.

Since several people are suffering from stress, Public Health Minister Wittaya Buranasiri has ordered the establishment of health units to help ease psychological and emotional stress resulting from the situation. He added that the department of Mental Health had been told to recruit more volunteers among the affected people, so that they would be able to provide morale support to other flood-hit residents.

Additionally, the Ministry of Commerce has cooperated with various companies to set up a product distribution center at Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok, in an effort to ease shortages of consumer goods.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian government has donated 30 million baht to help flood victims in Thailand. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Flood Relief Operations Center are joining hands in coping with the flooding situation in Bangkok.

People push their belongings through floodwaters during an evacuation from a flooded market in BangkokReuters
A girl is comforted after a military truck carrying evacuees missed the road and ended up in deeper water in north-west Bangkok.Reuters
A woman worker gestures next to a dog at a flooded gas station at Bang Phlat district in Bangkok.Reuters
Vehicles are parked on an elevated highway to avoid floodwater in the north of Bangkok.Reuters
A general view of highways partially submerged in floodwaters in Bangkok.Reuters