17% of Bang Chan Industrial Estate shuts down amid flood threat

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BANGKOK, Nov 10 – One in six of the factories in Bang Chan Industrial Estate in eastern Bangkok has suspended operations after a first level emergency warning was issued Wednesday night following rising water in Khlong Saen Saep behind the estate.

Sixteen of the 93 factories suspended operations after the estate’s flood prevention centre issued a first level emergency warning for operators to move their machinery, business data, and related equipment to high ground and to follow updates from the centre after the water level in Khlong Saen Saep and Khlong Bang Chan rose to one metre above mean sea level at 10.30 Wednesday night, posing a flood threat to the Min Buri district estate, said Yongyuth Thongsuk, deputy permanent secretary for industry.

Seri Thai Road, the main route into the estate, is flooded, causing difficulties for workers travelling to work on Thursday.

The water level in Kratiem swamp, north of the Bang Chan Industrial Estate, has risen by five centimetres and overflowed onto Mom Chao Sanga Ngam Supradit Road.

Workers from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration are collecting garbage which had accumulated in the swamp to help the flow of water into Khlong Saen Saep.

If the water level in Saen Saep canal reaches 1.40 metres, a second level emergency warning will be issued for evacuation.

The Bang Chan Industrial Estate, Thailand’s first, was established in 1972 on a 270-acre plot of land, with an investment value of Bt19.8 billion, and providing jobs for 13,844 employees.

Most businesses in the estate–about 19 per cent–are food processing or beverage industries, followed by fertiliser and chemical products at 17 per cent and electrical appliances and electronics at 15 per cent.

The estate’s flood prevention system is divided into six zones with 2.10-metre high flood barriers. Its 13 pumps have a total capacity of 13,800 cubic metres per hour.