November 11, 2011 00:00 By The Nation 7,871 Viewed
Factories based in Bangkok's Bang Chan Industrial Estate were told yesterday to move their machinery and raw materials to higher ground as water levels in a swamp next to the complex had risen by more than a metre.
The government’s coordination centre for flood prevention and solution yesterday issued a “Stage 1” warning, advising factory owners to closely monitor reports and developments.
Yongyuth Thongsuk, deputy permanent secretary for the Industry Ministry, said after a meeting with the coordination centre yesterday that factory owners were aware that the water level in Krathiem Swamp to the north of the estate was rising due to run-offs.
Water from the swamp has already seeped through flood barriers behind one factory, though soldiers managed to plug the cracks later. Officials also used pumps to push water from the Krathiem Swamp into the nearby Bang Chan Canal and then Saen Saeb Canal.
He said the walls of some factories needed additional reinforcement and were currently being strengthened with steel pipes and sandbags.
Supap Kleekrajai, vice minister for Industry Ministry, said yesterday that given the current situation, he was convinced the Bang Chan Industrial Estate would be protected from widespread flooding as the strength of the run-offs is not as strong as those that flooded the industrial parks in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra agreed, saying that the flood-defence measures for Bang Chan were sufficient to protect the estate.
“I believe it is unlikely to be affected [by flooding],” she said, adding that her government was also asking upstream provinces where the water is receding to return their water pumps so they can be used in Bangkok.
Thanawat Pholwichai, director of Thai Chamber of Commerce University’s Centre for Economy and Business Forecasting, said flooding in Bangkok’s Bang Chan and Lat Krabang industrial estates and other city areas would cause damage worth about Bt450 billion.
He said the crisis would also slow down the country’s gross domestic product growth to between 1.5 to 2.5 per cent, and slow rehabilitation efforts would result in a GDP growth of only 1.5 per cent.