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Fourth Ayutthaya estate falls

Posted by arnon_k On October - 16 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

90 FACTORIES, 60,000 WORKERS FACE UNCERTAIN FUTURE

Massive floods swamped a fourth major industrial estate in Ayutthaya yesterday, forcing authorities to order the evacuation of workers.

Water breached floodwalls to inundate Bang Pa-in Industrial Estate despite the efforts of the army and factory workers to reinforce defences.

Bang Pa-in district chief Nathee Borsuwan said people were ordered to move immediately to safe ground.

The water level was recorded at 80cm to one metre.

Soldiers and workers had raced to repair a broken floodwall on the eastern side of the estate since early on Friday but failed due to the strong flow of water.

Since the Chao Phraya River overflowed and burst a dyke at Wat Chaiwattanaram on Oct 4, Ayutthaya and downstream areas have been inundated. The Saha Rattana Nakorn, Rojana and Hi-Tech industrial estates were flooded, causing billions of baht of damage.

Narapot Tewtanom, deputy governor of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, said all areas of the Bang Pa-in estate were flooded yesterday despite the efforts of authorities.

The four industrial estates have a combined investment value of about 194 billion baht, he said.

The Bang Pa-in estate houses 90 factories over an area of 1,962 rai with 60,000 workers. Most of the businesses are involved in electronics, electrical appliances, engines and garments.

Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday inspected Navanakorn Industrial Estate in Khlong Luang district of Pathum Thani to make sure measures are in place to block floodwater coming from Ayutthaya.

Gen Prayuth said the government’s flood relief operation centre had asked the army to help tackle floods in industrial estates. He said the army has been struggling to salvage the Rojana, Hi-Tech and Saha Rattana Nakorn industrial estates.

The army is now concentrating on preventing floodwater from damaging the Navanakorn estate, Gen Prayuth said.

The estate is home to 227 manufacturing plants covering more than 8,000 rai, with more than 180,000 workers. Investment in the estate is valued at more than 100 billion baht.

Gen Prayuth said emphasis has been placed on protecting three flood-prone areas around the estate.

They comprise a northern embankment close to Khlong Chiang Rak, a western floodwall and a southern floodwall.

Soldiers were racing to produce more than 100,000 sandbags to reinforce the floodwalls, Gen Prayuth said.

He said residents living outside flood barriers protecting industrial estates have been affected by floods while areas within the protected zone were still safe, although a close watch was being kept on flood levels around the clock.

He said the army, the navy and the Transport Ministry have worked together to dredge canals in the west and east of Bangkok to drain northern run-off to the sea as quickly as possible.

“We are trying our best to prevent floods to ensure the industrial estates can continue to operate,” Gen Prayuth said.

Nipit Arunvongse na Ayudhya, managing director of Nava Nakorn Plc, the operator of the Navanakorn estate, said floodwater rose very high on Friday night.

“The water started coming down in the afternoon on Saturday to about one metre below the 5.5m dyke,” he said.

However, a source said some overflowing water broke into the estate via part of a factory’s dyke. But workers were able to pump water out to bring the water level under control.

Mr Nipit said 1,000 people are safeguarding the estate around the clock.

Authorities and workers are working to repair the earth embankment near Dechartiwong Bridge on the Asian Highway. Nakhon Sawan governor Chairoj Meedaeng said the province hopes to have the Asian Highway open today.

He said the province’s flood relief centre is providing shelter to about 10,000 flood victims.

Bang Pa-in estate 100% flooded

Posted by arnon_k On October - 16 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The Bang Pra-in Industrial Estate in Ayutthaya province is now 100 per cent flooded and the water in the estate is about 1.80 metres deep, Somwang Thungsuwan said.

Mr Somwang, chairman of the group of executives at the Bang Pa-in Industrial Estate, some of the factories managed to move some of their machines out to high ground.

Some of the machines were only lifted to higher places over the water surface and covered with plastic sheets.

Power supply into the estate has been cut.

There are 90 factories, some producing electronic parts and electrical appliances, with altogether about 60,000 workers in the Bang Pa-in Industrial Estate which is situated on a 1,962 rai plot. The investment cost is 60 billion baht. Most of the investors are from Japan, the United States and Malaysia.

Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra has calmed fears over heavy floods in the capital, saying the situation is not yet critical despite water levels in the Chao Phraya River hitting a record high yesterday.

The water level at Pak Khlong Talat hit 2.15m, the record high, but the governor pointed out that this is still 65cm below the flood barrier. Some residents outside the embankment have been moved to the evacuation centre as a precautionary measure.

MR Sukhumbhand said City Hall is keeping a close watch on Thawi Watthana district, which could face run-off from Nakhon Pathom.

The governor said Bangkok is not out of danger, as a massive volume of water which is gripping its neighbouring provinces continues to threaten the capital.

He said that Thawi Wattana, which connects to Nakhon Pathom, is at risk of being flooded.

The governor yesterday took a helicopter ride to inspect the flood situation around the city and the eastern part of Bangkok.

MR Sukhumbhand gave assurances that even though 17 districts in Bangkok have been declared disaster zones the situation is nowhere near as bad as that in Ayutthaya, where the Bang Pa-in Industrial Estate yesterday fell to floods, the fourth to be inundated in recent days. Still, eastern Bangkok has been most affected by floods, particularly Min Buri district where 35 communities have been affected, amounting to 4,636 households. About 1,400 rai of agricultural land has been swamped.

Elsewhere, some roads, such as Lat Krabang, Khum Klao and Luang Phraeng, are under 10-30cm of water.

In neighbouring Pathum Thani province, northern run-off from Ayutthaya breached an embankment at Khlong Luang district yesterday morning, inundating several housing estates and adding to the misery of residents in heavily-flooded communities.

Pathum Thani governor Peerasak Hinmuangkao said he was greatly concerned for many parts of the province, which have been ravaged by raging torrents of water. A large volume of water from Ayutthaya burst through a one metre-high embankment on a road running alongside a canal in tambon Khlong Nueng in Khlong Luang district.

The situation in many parts of Pathum Thani remained critical yesterday.

More than 300 residents in tambon Bang Poon in Pathum Thani’s Muang district took to the street on the Rangsit-Pathum Thani Road to demand the provincial governor order the Phra In Racha sluicegate closed.

The government is speeding up its attempts to rescue those who remain trapped or stranded by the flood, said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

She said that the armed forces have been instructed to use their resources in search and rescue missions to take flood victims to designated temporary shelters dotted around the city and neighbouring provinces.

She was speaking after a meeting with armed forces leaders at the government’s flood relief operation centre in Don Mueang.

As of yesterday, the flood-related death toll had risen to 297, with two people reported missing.

Help arrives too late in Nonthaburi

Posted by arnon_k On October - 16 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

FIRECRACKER IN SKY ALERTS LOCALS TO DYKE BREACH

NONTHABURI : Residents are frustrated by the failure of authorities and politicians to take action to protect them from flooding by the Chao Phraya River.

However, authorities say they have been working day and night to prevent 14 sluice gates from Klong Bang Talad to Wat Khemapirataram dykes along the Chao Phraya River from breaching.

If these sluice gates were broken, Bangkok’s outer economic areas would be hard hit.

Toey, 31, an architect who has been living in Bua Thong Kheha estate in Bang Bua Thong district for 15 years, said 650 households in the area were inundated.

“Floods are up to 10cm on my first floor and 80cm on the road inside the estate, which is nearly 1km away from the main road _ Bang Kruay-Sai Noi,” said Mr Toey.

The flood was entering its sixth day and but officials had passed on little information to residents.

“Residents have to help themselves. We heard about the floods when someone set off a firework into the sky on Monday night as one of the dykes near Bang Bua Thong fresh market was broken.

“They sent an electrical pump and several sandbags but those things can’t hold back water adequately,” he said.

Jinda, 62, a retired civil servant living in Laphawan Residence on Tha It road, said her house was not yet flooded but the road inside the compound was inundated. “Any housing estate which has connections with authorities or local politicians could bargain to get electrical pumps and sandbags and they just pump water out on to the street, unlike my compound which has quite a difficult time,” said Ms Jinda. Orchard farmers behind the residence have suffered from the inundation for a second week.

Udomdej Rattanasatien, Nonthaburi MP from the Pheu Thai Party, said Nonthaburi municipality is facing trouble this weekend as the water has shifted way from the Nakhon Pathom area to Bang Bua Thong.

“We are adding two more rows of sandbags which increase the height of the dyke from 1.2m to 1.5m,” said Mr Udomdej.

Somnuk Thanadechakul, Nonthaburi municipality mayor, said residents patrol days and nights along risky areas as water levels could vary drastically over the course of a day.

Nonthaburi municipality has spent 20 million baht on sandbags and water pumps, he said.

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