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Scientists examine effects of flooding in Ayutthaya estates

Although the flooding in Ayutthaya has subsided, it will take months to restore two of the damaged industrial estates examined by experts.



Recently, a group from the Council of Scientific and Technological Associations of Thailand (COSTAT) went to the province to survey the effects of the flood and see what assistance was needed at Hi-Tech Industrial Estate and Rojana Industrial Park.

Thanakrit Phothong, a safety official at Hi-Tech, said the flood had affected 613 industrial plants in the estate. Though completely dry now, the estate will take about three months to restore. A restoration committee set up by the estate will discuss with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) a long-term rehabilitation plan.

Somnuk Sansomboonsuk, director and project manager of the estate, said its infrastructure was damaged, and he estimated that Hi-Tech had lost about Bt10 billion in income.

Pakorn Wangsilabat, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries' Ayutthaya chapter, said machinery in many industrial estates had been destroyed by flood waters, and insurance claims would take five or six months to be paid. This would result in missed business opportunities for some companies.

He said the Hi-Tech had tried hard to protect itself but the flood level was higher than the dyke it had built. It will take three to six months to restore, he added.

Seree Kimchong, a project engineer at Rojana Industrial Park, said it had problems with infrastructure, machinery, toxic residue and garbage. Most of plants in Rojana produced electronic parts, and toxic residues were found in three or four of them after the flood receded.

He said that when the flood first threatened, Rojana built a soil barrier, but like the one at Hi-Tech, it too was overwhelmed and the park was inundated.

Pakorn said the two estates and JICA planned to construct a local road paralleling the Asia Highway. It will protect all of Ayutthaya's industrial estates because it can double as a floodway.

Restoring the confidence of local investors is crucial after this disaster and the government must outline a clear flood-prevention plan, he added.

COSTAT chairman Songsak Srianujata said business operators should survey the risks pertaining to areas where they plan to construct industrial estates, especially flood risk. Scientific progress should be realised to deal with floods. Industrial estates should be more careful with the use of chemicals, and logistics systems should be better prepared to cope with flooding.

He told The Nation that the association would use the information it garnered from its survey at a seminar yesterday, which would be attended by flood experts and academics. They would be divided into three categories: water-system sciences, health of flood victims, and environmental effects after flooding.


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