NAKHON SAWAN – Thailand: Businesses in Thailand are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst as torrential rains continue to batter large parts of the country.
There are fears that the economic costs could climb if floods in the north and northeast spread to Bangkok and industrial parks in central Thailand.
The prolonged heavy rain is causing havoc, with large-scale floods occurring in non-flood prone areas and taking many locals by surprise.
On the outskirts of the Nakhon Sawan province, mountain run-off from a nearby national park has triggered floods for the last couple of weeks.
As the locals try to cope with the disaster, questions remain on whether the floods in the province will spread to other areas as well.
Rice farmers in Nakhon Sawan are particularly concerned. The floods have already destroyed many fields ahead of the harvesting season.
Others are working hard to stave off the floodwaters until harvesting time next month.
Pongsakorn Yardrian, a rice farmer in Nakhon Sawan, said: “The rice cannot be harvested yet, rice ears are just beginning to emerge and it is not yet ready.
“If this area is destroyed, then 200 rai (80 acres) will be damaged… a 200 rai worth of damage would cost me about 2 million baht (US$64,000).
“I have to put a rubber sheet over the dyke to prevent the flooded water on the road from going in to the rice field.”
Anxious Thais are worried that there will be a repeat of the 2011 floods, which inundated large parts of the Chao Phraya basin, including Bangkok, for months.
Officials said water levels at the Chao Phraya Dam, the main water gateway between the mountainous north and the low-lying areas of the central plain, have yet to reach alarming levels.
They added that there are other causes for this year’s floods.
Visarn Vasuntharaporn, director of the Royal Irrigation Department at Nakhon Sawan office, said: “The current large volume of water came from the substantial amount of rain that fall below the northern dams.
“The water level is low now, compared to the level in 2011. Affected areas are mainly low-lying areas along riverbanks, which is a usual occurrence (on a yearly basis).
“Each area needs to manage (the volume of) water that correlates with the crop-growing timetable.”
Communities downstream are already preparing to face the rising waters.
Industrial parks that were inundated in 2011, have erected barriers to ensure their factories stay dry.