In the worst flooding in Thailand for 50 years, elephants are stranded and in need of food and water, along with the Thai people. The elephants, sacred to the culture, cannot move and are in urgent need of food and drinking water, being delivered by boat.
In addition many villages are submerged and 280 people have reportedly been killed as the flooding has continued since heavy monsoons in July. The suburbs of Bankok have been flooded as people desperately try to save the capital, and the Thai Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, said she was optimistic that Bankok would be spared.
The government is concerned that the floods will impact one of Thailand’s largest trades—tourism as transport into Bankok has been paralyzed in the suburbs of the city. In addition, production has been impacted, as Navanakorn industrial state has been flooded.
The industrial estate holds 250 factories and employs 200,000 people. Nearly 1,000 worked over the weekend to try and keep barriers in place against the flooding but their efforts have failed. “I feel so sorry that water has entered because we’ve been trying to prevent the industrial estate from flooding for quite a while,” said the Prime Minister.
Barriers apparently had been breached through a combination of high tides, large amounts of run-off from water in the north, and heavy rains. Five industrial states have also been impacted in Ayutthaya, one of the worst-hit areas, including Factory Land, which is under five feet, or 1.5 metres, of water. These industrial estates hold international and local factories and businesses, many of which are in the tech or motor industries.
Japanese carmakers Toyota and Honda have had to suspend production as a result of these floods due to damage to facilities and/or problems at local supply chains. The overall cost to the Thai economy is estimated at £1.8 billion, or $3 billion.
Though it is not on the other side of the disaster, Bangkok saw a large amount of northern floodwaters flow past the city to the Gulf of Thailand. Agriculture Minister Theera Wongsamut has said that this is a good sign, though reports that flood defences have been breached in the north of the city show that the worst is not yet over.