Thailand scrambles to prevent humanitarian disaster from floods Skip to main content

Thailand scrambles to prevent humanitarian disaster from floods

(Reuters) - Thai rescue workers scrambled on Monday to prevent a humanitarian disaster as the worst flooding in half a century swamped large sections of the country, shut factories and stranded thousands of people.

Nearly 270 people have been killed in heavy monsoon rains, floods and mudslides since July that have battered 30 of Thailand's 77 provinces, authorities said.

About 3.4 million acres (1.38 million hectares) of farm land is under water -- about 13 times the size of Hong Kong. More than 700,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged.

In the hard-hit central province of Ayutthaya, 198 factories in a big industrial estate, including an assembly plant of Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T), closed after flood waters breached a wall of sandbags at the weekend.

"There will certainly be some impact on production due to the flooding in Ayutthaya," Ammar Master, a senior market analyst at the Asian unit of J.D. Power and Associates, a California-based industry research firm.

"While automakers will have components in stock, we expect a slowdown in production in the immediate term," he said. "Measures taken are likely to be similar to those implemented in the immediate aftermath of the (March earthquake) disaster in Japan."

Industry Minister Wannarat Channukul estimated the initial cost of damage had reached more than 20 billion baht in Ayutthaya province alone.

"This is just a rough estimate. We still can't get to all parts of the area due to heavy flooding," he said, adding that he would travel with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to Ayutthaya later on Monday.


Bangkok, much of which is only two metres (78 inches) above sea level, has seen only minor flooding but officials are preparing for worse this week and considering evacuation plans for some sections of the city of about 12 million people.

The Chao Phraya river running through the capital, already high because of water coming from overflowing dams in the north, could be swollen from around October 13 by further heavy rain plus high sea tides affecting its estuary.

First Army Region Commander Lieutenant General Udomdej Sritabutr said three evacuation centres had been set up to support 7,000 evacuees in Ayutthaya province. At least 2,000 rescue workers have been sent to the area with nearly 1,000 boats and 155 trucks.

Ayutthaya provincial hall has been turned into a makeshift evacuation centre, packed with thousands in tents.

Economists are cutting forecasts for economic growth this year because of the floods but say reconstruction work will push up demand eventually, especially early next year.

Nearly 200 factories, including one run by Japanese car maker Honda, closed in Ayutthaya because of flooding. The Rojana estate in Ayutthaya, run by Rojana Industrial Park Pcl ROJNA.BK, was flooded after a wall of sandbags collapsed.

A Honda spokeswoman said it had moved about 3,000 assembled cars from the estate to other areas. Hana Microelectronics Pcl HANA.BK has also had to close its plant in Ayutthaya.

The commerce ministry said on Friday it had slashed its forecast for the main rice crop, which farmers are just starting to bring in, to 21 million tonnes from 25 million because of the flooding.

Thailand is the world's biggest rice exporter. The crop damage will add to the pressure on export prices, already being forced up by the high buying price set under a government intervention scheme aimed at helping poor farmers.

Other Southeast Asian countries have suffered serious flooding in recent weeks because of heavy monsoon rains combined with tropical storms.

The death toll from two strong typhoons that cut across the north of the Philippines' main island and left behind widespread flooding had risen to 101 as of Sunday, the national disaster agency said.


Popular posts from this blog

Chronology of the Press in Burma

1836 – 1846 * During this period the first English-language newspaper was launched under British-ruled Tenasserim, southern  Burma . The first ethnic Karen-language and Burmese-language newspapers also appear in this period.     March 3, 1836 —The first English-language newspaper,  The Maulmain Chronicle , appears in the city of Moulmein in British-ruled Tenasserim. The paper, first published by a British official named E.A. Blundell, continued up until the 1950s. September 1842 —Tavoy’s  Hsa-tu-gaw  (the  Morning Star ), a monthly publication in the Karen-language of  Sgaw ,  is established by the Baptist mission. It is the first ethnic language newspaper. Circulation reached about three hundred until its publication ceased in 1849. January 1843 —The Baptist mission publishes a monthly newspaper, the Christian  Dhamma  Thadinsa  (the  Religious Herald ), in Moulmein. Supposedly the first Burmese-language newspaper, it continued up until the first year of the second Angl

Thai penis whitening trend raises eyebrows

Image copyright LELUXHOSPITAL Image caption Authorities warn the procedure could be quite painful A supposed trend of penis whitening has captivated Thailand in recent days and left it asking if the country's beauty industry is taking things too far. Skin whitening is nothing new in many Asian countries, where darker skin is often associated with outdoor labour, therefore, being poorer. But even so, when a clip of a clinic's latest intriguing procedure was posted online, it quickly went viral. Thailand's health ministry has since issued a warning over the procedure. The BBC Thai service spoke to one patient who had undergone the treatment, who told them: "I wanted to feel more confident in my swimming briefs". The 30-year-old said his first session of several was two months ago, and he had since seen a definite change in the shade. 'What for?' The original Facebook post from the clinic offering the treatment, which uses lasers to break do

Myanmar Villagers Tell of 150 Homes Burned in Deadly Army Air Attacks

Artillery fire and aerial bombardments by Myanmar forces killed three civilians and burned scores of houses in their communities in mid-March amid fighting between Myanmar forces and the rebel Arakan Army in war-ravaged Rakhine state, villagers recounted Monday at a press conference. Villagers from Kyauktaw township in western Myanmar's Rakhine state discuss the government military's attacks on their communities at press conference in Sittwe, March 30, 2020. They made the comments after traveling from in Kyauktaw township to the state capital Sittwe to give testimony on a series of attacks on civilian dwellings amid a government-imposed internet shutdown in nine townships in Rakhine and neighboring Chin state, cutting off vital information about the fighting. They villagers accused the Myanmar Army of conducting an aerial bombing on civilian communities that destroyed about 150 homes and a monastery in Pyaing Taing village, while government soldiers on the g