BANGKOK--Clean-up and repair work is under way at seven industrial complexes in Thailand inundated for more than a month of flooding. But it could take up to half a year for production to return to normal levels in some of the areas.
Of the 804 companies operating in the seven industrial complexes, about 450 are Japanese-affiliated, accounting for one-third of the Japanese manufacturers in Thailand.
The flooding has hit Japanese manufacturers hard, especially in vehicle and electric appliance production because supply chains have been disrupted.
Two of the industrial complexes completed pumping out the water by Nov. 17, and four others are expected to finish the process by mid-December.
The Bang Pa-In complex in Ayutthaya province in central Thailand was 2 meters deep in water after the bank surrounding the 310-hectare complex was destroyed on Oct. 14. The complex achieved "dry status" on Nov. 17, but a brown line that remains on the walls shows how high the muddy water reached.
Clean-up activities have started at factories in the Bang Pan-In complex, where windows were broken due to pressure from the water and floors still show heavy water damage. A foul odor lingers in the air.
Walls have been removed for ventilation, and air-conditioning systems were rendered inoperable.
Workers at an electronic machinery factory carried out mud-caked machines, desks and chairs from the dark building. They said they could not even test the electricity for fear of possible shocks or malfunctions.
"I am afraid all the machines have become unusable," said a Thai factory manager, who was supervising the work. "It will take at least three months to recover."
Lukkana Meankumnerd, director of the Bang Pa-In industrial complex, said the infrastructure for water and electricity to the factories remained largely intact.
"It will take at most two weeks to check and recover the facilities in the complex," she said. "But it could take at least six months until companies can operate at pre-flooding levels."
In the Rojana complex, the largest of the seven complexes where 218 factories, including those of Honda Motor Co. and Nikon Corp., operate, 10 pump trucks that can remove half a ton of water per second were installed on Nov. 19. They are now operating around the clock.
At the Saharattananakorn industrial complex, where the water is still 1.6 meters deep, provisional waterways were set up to accelerate the water removal. But the work involved tearing up nearby roads.
"We would like to set up pumps within 10 days to accelerate water removal to allow heavy vehicles to travel to and from the area within 15 days," Director Korakot Ratsamee said.
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