Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Industrial estate on the cusp of inundation

Workers have been told to leave Ayutthaya's Hi-Tech Industrial Estate after a levee began leaking.
Floodwater is close to the point of overflowing the earthen barrier protecting the Hi-Tech Industrial Estate in Bang Pa-in district of Ayutthaya. SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN

Wim Rungwattanajinda, secretary of the Prime Minister's Secretariat and spokesman for the government's flood relief operations centre, said workers were being warned to leave the estate in Bang Pa-in district.

Public Health Minister Witthaya Buranasiri said floodwater was getting into the estate through leaks that rescue teams were trying to fix.

"So far about 60% of the embankment leaking situation has been resolved," he said, adding that evacuation of people on the industrial estate was being conducted for safety reasons.

Mr Witthaya said he had reported the embankment problem to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who assigned him and Commerce Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong to lead the operation.

Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) governor Monta Pranootnarapal said all 143 factories on the estate had stopped operating by yesterday morning in preparation for possible flooding.

Despite a previous warning by IEAT for factories in flood-prone areas to suspend operations and prepare for evacuation, some factories had continued operating.

Ms Monta said IEAT had learned that Bangkok was draining excess water to its eastern area, which was raising concerns that four other industrial estates could be affected. These are the Lat Krabang, Wellgrow, Anyathani (Gemopolis) and Bang Phli estates.

The Royal Thai Air Force has sent five helicopters to search for people stranded in the flooded province of Ayutthaya so they can be evacuated before there is a shortage of food and medicines.

The air force is using infra-red rays to scan for people living in houses before sending personnel on boats to convince them to leave their homes.

Ayutthaya was hardest hit by the flooding last weekend. Most parts of the province are still inundated.

The prime minister said yesterday that police from provinces unaffected by flooding should be deployed to help patrol and guard houses in Ayutthaya so residents would be more relaxed about leaving their homes.
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