No megaflood in Thailand this year: Water committee chair


BANGKOK, April 25 – Dr Virabongsa Ramangkura, chairperson of the Strategic Committee for Reconstruction and Future Development (SCRF), said on Wednesday he was confident Thailand will not face a repetition of last year’s flood crisis, as the government has been on the right track on water management and flood prevention.

He spoke on the direction of the Thai economy on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Thai Television and 35th anniversary of MCOT, Thailand’s leading broadcasting company.

Dr Virabongsa said the government has invested more than Bt350 billion to improve flood prevention infrastructure. More flood embankments, canals and flood-related structures have been built, which he said would prevent future floods and the public could rest assured of the matter.

He also added if major floods do happen, neither this government nor himself in his position could last long.

Thailand’s worst flood in decades late last year devastated vast areas of the kingdom, especially in the central plains where major industrial estates are located, and left more than 600 people dead.

The estimated financial losses of industrial plants due to the flood crisis reached Bt230 billion, according to the Department of Industrial Works.

“Foreign investors are [now] more confident in investing in Thailand,” he said as evidenced by only Bt350 million of the government’s Bt50 billion insurance fund being used. “Such a fund might not be necessary in the future,” Dr Virabongsa said.

Apart from flood prevention plans, he said the government must improve and modernise the country’s infrastructure such as railways and information technology in order to support expansion of the business sector.

Dr Virabongsa said that after developed countries such as the United States and Europe have faced economic problems in the past 4-5 years, emerging economies such as China, India, Russia and Brazil have shown signs of more investment. If the economies of these nations grow, it will help the Thai economy grow as well.

He said he believed the new economies will have immense trade and investment value in the next 15 years, particularly in Asia and the Southeast Asian region.