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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     3 November  2011

Thai Flood Update-November 3

Bangkok 80 percent dry
Twenty percent of Bangkok is now underwater as Thailand's worst floods in half a century spread through the capital, prompting warnings for affected residents to evacuate, an official said Thursday.

Many people, however, have ignored the advice, choosing to stay in their inundated homes despite risks including electrocution and disease as well as shortages of food and drinking water.

"In terms of area about 20 percent of the capital is under flood water but nobody knows the exact population affected," said a spokesman for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Jate Sopitpongstorn.

Flood won’t affect inner Bangkok
Chavalit Chanrat, managing director of Team Group, said that the flood invading Bangkok right now is on average 50 cm deep. Those in low-lying area may see up to 60-80 cm but those in higher ground will see only 20-30 cm.

When the leak in Bangkok North is slowed by big bags, Bangkok's canal system can drain off excess water to be pumped out at giant tunnel at Rama IX Rd into Chao Phraya.
Mr. Chavalit did not expect the flood to advance further than Chatuchak area.

Minister says accept flood
The government will set up a committee to oversee restoration of the country after the flood recedes, but in the meantime people just have to accept the reality that they must continue living with the flood for now, Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Surasawadi said on Thursday.

Speaking at the Flood Relief Operations Centre (Froc), Mr Plodprasop said that it was own assessment that the people in Bangkok and surrounding provinces would have to live with the existing flood situation for at least another two weeks.

Thai economy takes hit
The Thai economy is expected to remain sluggish for a while due to the country's worst floods in half a century, according to the Bank of Thailand (BoT).

BoT domestic economy department senior director Methee Supapong said Thursday there had been a decline in exports, industrial output, tourism and domestic consumption.

"Exports of electronic goods and hard disk drives have a tendency to decline because of the state of the global economy but the flooding will likely prolong the slump.

"The sector that will suffer more impact is tourism as travelling might not be easy, but there'll be some tourists coming to the country because foreign tourists understand the situation in Thailand," Mr Methee said.

The central bank's study found business and consumer confidence had fallen below the 50-point level as sales orders had been down for some time because of the widespread flooding in the North, Northeast and the Central Plains.

Investment expert sees Thailand recovering
Thailand should recover well from the disastrous floods, as impacts - including those on banks and non-bank corporates - should be short-lived, said Mark Mobius, a global investor and emerging markets fund manager.

"We believe Thailand should also remain an attractive place for foreign direct investment (FDI) due to location advantages, a supportive business environment and highly competitive workforce. While devastating in the near-term, we believe that impact from the flooding should prove short-lived, and that Thailand should recover well from this disastrous event," he said in his note in Franklin Templeton Management’s web site.

Industrial estate protected
Flood risk against the Bang Chan Industrial Estate in eastern Bangkok has reduced after the water gates of Klong 8, Klong 9 and Klong 10 canals in Pathum Thani were closed Thursday, according to Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra.

Local people in Pathum Thani, however, are protesting against the closing of Klong 9 Canal's water gate. They have demanded that the Flood Relief Operation Centre (FROC) open the water gate immediately.


China sends 500 boats
Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said yesterday that 500 motorised rubber dinghies were being flown in from China and that Japan had informed him that it had earmarked Bt380 million in aid money.

He added that General Pracha Promnok, director of the Flood Relief Operations Centre, was to prepare a list of items that the money would be spent on.
In addition, he said, the government had ordered six diesel-powered pumps worth Bt10 million from India for the Royal Irrigation Department.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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