News / Asia

    Asia Floods Take Heavy Toll on Local Economies

    A man stands on a flooded pier at Memorial bridge, along the Chao Praya river, in Bangkok, October 14, 2011.
    A man stands on a flooded pier at Memorial bridge, along the Chao Praya river, in Bangkok, October 14, 2011.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Ron Corben

    Floodwaters in central Thailand have inundated industrial parks and manufacturing centers, adding to the mounting economic costs of the disaster.  Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos are also continuing to tally the cost of heavy flooding that has claimed hundreds of lives.

    Economists fear Thailand's most severe floods in decades may cost the country $5 billion and reduce its gross domestic product by about one percent.

    The economic toll is already being felt in the country's industrial heartland, where floods breached the walls of major industrial estates. The damage has shut Honda and Toyota automobile assembly plants that account for about seven percent of their combined global production.

    More water is expected in the country's manufacturing center as well as the capital, Bangkok. Together the industrial areas produce nearly one-half of Thailand's national output.

    Bhichit Rattakul is executive director of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center. Bhichit says floods may take up to two months to disperse, with the main body of water still to reach outer Bangkok.

    "It's not easily over," said Bhichit.  "[It could last] at least another 50 days because the volume of the water is still up in the north; it's not even at Ayutthaya or Bangkok yet. I mean at Ayutthaya we don't see any piece of land at all now; all we see is the water. It's all submerged. The main part of the water is still in Nakhon Sawan area. So you need some time to drain it out."

    Officials from the Thai Industry Ministry say up to eight industrial estates and parks that employ over 200,000 highly skilled workers are under threat from floods.

    Economists warn Thailand's growth rate will be hit, especially in the fourth quarter of 2011. Thanomsri Fongarunrung, a senior economist with Phatra Securities, says the impact on industrial production is a key concern for the economic outlook.  

    "Our concern is that the major area in the central area that is mainly the manufacturing of automobile, electronics, right now that is under flood and the major threat is that is comes through to Bangkok," said Fongarunrung.

    While authorities warn Bangkok is at risk for flooding in the coming days, much of the damage so far has been in rural and agricultural areas in Southeast Asia.  

    The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said the flooding across countries bound by the Mekong River system - Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos - had led to the loss of over 550 lives.  In Cambodia, efforts to assist communities had been hampered by high waters and dangerous road conditions.

    Peter Brimble, a senior economist for the Asian Development Bank in Phnom Penh, said the damage has been devastating for poorer communities that have been building local infrastructure using government assistance.

    "They've been using these small amounts of money - maybe $10,000 or $20,000 a year - to gradually build up some of the small roads and things around the village and their commune - and now they're all washed away," said Brimble.

    In Vietnam, flooding hit the Mekong Delta region claiming over a dozen lives including children while storms also hit the north central coastal region leaving  60,000 homes submerged and damaged. In Laos, where floods have affected almost half a million people, the waters have damaged more than 60,000 hectares of farmland damaged as well as local infrastructure.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora