Businesses lost $54b to floods: Thai PM

BANGKOK - Flooding has cost the Thai private sector 1.3 trillion baht (S$54b) in lost revenue and damages to property, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told a Bangkok conference yesterday.

The country's industrial output has dropped drastically in the last three months, Yingluck said in a speech to a workshop at the National Defence Studies Institute, without citing specific sources.

In the speech, titled "Roles of the government and private sectors in national security", Yingluck said systems were needed for dealing with both natural and man-made threats to create a foundation for national, social and political security.

Financial and social security could be ensured by adhering to the philosophy of self-sufficiency, while quick recovery in the industrial sector would be essential in restoring economic growth, she said.

On flood and water management, she said long-term solutions would be needed to prevent a recurrence of the disaster, while boosting investor confidence. Thailand is also at risk of being affected by the economic problems in Europe, so policies and contingency plans should be drawn up to prepare for this possibility, she said.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok city administration set a new garbage collection record on Wednesday, piling up 12,463 tonnes, or 146.62 per cent of the regular daily volume of 8,500 tonnes. An intensive 24-hour collection was underway yesterday near Song Prapha Road in Don Muang district.

A 3m, 200kg crocodile was caught yesterday off a section of Bang KruaySai Noi Road in Nonthaburi's Bang Bua Thong district, the largest to be captured since the flooding began. The female reptile, the third caught in the area, was netted on a road after a 30min struggle and chase by villagers.

Water levels have dropped in many Bangkok canals, especially the important Hok Wa Canal in the east of the city, which saw a 7cm drop, and Maha Sawas Canal in the west, which has gone down by 6 cm, the city administration's flood relief centre reported.

After a period of free access during the heavy flooding, motorists using the Chiang Rak expressway entrance would be required to resume paying tolls starting at 12.01 am Friday morning, as the site is now dry.

Buddha Monthol 3 Road remains flooded and impassable to small vehicles, while about half of the areas under the jurisdiction of the six police stations on the capital's Thon Buri side are now dry, according to a statement released by traffic police yesterday.