The Bangkok floods of late 2011 were reported extensively all around the world and on this website. Now, several months down the line, what are the long-term effects?
The flooding was described by an official at the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation as the “worst flooding yet in terms of the amount of water and people affected.” The initial impact included 506 deaths and 2 missing persons, with 3,151,224 peopl
e affected in some way. But the government has been left with other problems, including a decrease in economic growth and damage estimates of around 185 billion baht. Many schools were forced to end term early, and flooded factories and work places meant job losses for all. These factors combined with the enormous drop in tourism – estimated to have lost the country around US$259 million – are sure to keep the Thailand economy struggling for years to come.
The floods also led to several far-reaching global factors. 25% of the rice crop did not survive – a big deal considering that Thailand accounts for 30% of the global rice trade. Not only have rice farmers lost their investment and crop, but the loss of product will have an effect on global rice prices, pushing the cost up. Thailand is also the second largest producer of hard disk drives, which has created a shortage expected to last throughout 2012.
Damage was also suffered by several large Japanese firms with manufacturing plants around Bangkok. These included Toyota, Hitachi and Canon.
It comes as no surprise that the 2011 Thailand floods rate as the fourth highest costing disaster on record by the World Bank. But these national and global figures indicate the strain set upon the country and the world. One thing's for sure – Bangkok is not likely to forget the disaster in a hurry.