Thailand’s multibillion-dollar industry braces for La Nina flooding


BANGKOK: Flood defences are being beefed up to protect Thailand’s industrial heartlands from this year’s La Nina-fuelled monsoon flooding, with over 13 trillion baht (US$354 billion) of investment at stake.

Sandbag walls are rising and drainage channels being cleared at the country’s 68 industrial estates and one industrial port as the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) seeks to avoid a repeat of 2011’s Great Flood.

Vast areas of the North and Central regions were submerged for weeks in 2011, when one of the worst natural disasters in the past 70 years cost the country around 1.4 trillion baht and affected 12.8 million people.

Seven large industrial estates were damaged, leading to losses of over 3.5 billion baht and damaging prospects for future investment.

The La Nina phenomenon is forecast to bring cooler and wetter weather from next month, sparking a flurry of action from Thailand’s water management authorities.

The IEAT is reviewing its disaster management plans and deploying extra water pumps and fuel stockpiles to defend the 5,000 factories employing 8.5 million workers at its estates, said chairman Yuthasak Supasorn.

The IEAT is battling to bring down factory insurance premiums that soared following the 2011 disaster, with rehabilitation efforts including rigorous risk assessments to restore confidence in industrial estate oversight.

Yuthasak highlighted infrastructure improvement at Bang Pu Industrial Estate in Samut Prakan, where a smart drainage and flood prevention system now guards the perimeter and redirects floodwater into the sea canal.

“However, such systems should ideally cover all industrial estates,” he said.

“But due to their high cost, we have to focus on industrial estates that are in low-lying areas and require effective flood prevention systems.” - The Nation/ANN

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Thailand , La Nina , manufacturing , industry , flooding

   

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