Flood impact will last for months-Hesco Bastion
Flood impact will last for months
Published: 3/12/2011 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News
The Bank of Thailand has lowered its economic growth projection for this year to 1.8%, from the previous forecast of 2.6%, as a result of the floods.
A monk cleans a temple after floods start to recede in Ayutthaya province last month. While the Bank of Thailand has revised upwards its growth forecast for next year, on the back of a post-flood recovery, figures released by the Finance Ministry paint a grim picture of the damage caused by the worst floods in more than 50 years.
The devil is in the detail
However, the BoT expects the economy to expand by 4.8% next year, from a previous projection of 4.1% on the back of the government’s spending in projects to rehabilitate flood-hit areas and to rebuild the country.
The bank’s Monetary Policy Committee met on Wednesday and cut the one-day repurchase rate by 0.25 percentage points to 3.25%, from 3.5%, to boost the economy.
Despite the healthy growth projections for next year, figures released by Somchai Sajjaphong, director of the fiscal policy office at the Finance Ministry, paint a grim picture of the damage incurred by the floods, says Post Today.
Value-added tax receipts in October rose 11.3% compared to the same time the previous year.
In the previous month, tax receipts were up 13.3%.
Imports grew 6% compared to the same time last year, as against 12.9% in September.
Automobile sales fell 38.8% on the same month last year, compared to an increase of 29.6% in the previous month, while motorcycle sales dipped 4.6% on the same time the previous year, compared to 11.4% growth in September.
The consumer confidence index was 62.8% in October compared to 72.7% in September.
Private sector investment was hit as well. Pickup truck sales, an indicator of economic activity, fell 41.8% in October compared to the same time the previous year, with growth of 25.7% in the previous month.
The real estate transaction tax dipped 17%, and the manufacturing index shrank 34.5%. In the previous month, manufacturing expanded 69.2%.
Tourist arrivals in October were 1.4 million, 7% up on the same time last year, compared to growth of 22.7% in the previous month.
Post Today said the negative figures had yet to reflect the full impact of the floods, which inundated seven industrial estates in Ayuttaya and Pathum Thani, and thousands of houses and rice fields in the provinces along the Chao Phraya River from Nakhon Sawan down to Ayutthaya and Bangkok.
Trade and business in inner Bangkok slumped as few Bangkok residents were in the mood to do business or go shopping.
On the western front, the floods inundated Nong Khaem, Bang Khae, and Phasi Charoen districts, which have more than 500 small and medium sized enterprises, while Rama II Road was spared even though some predicted the flood would inundate this important route to the South as well.
Bank of Thailand governor Prasarn Trairatvorakhun said monetary policy would have to be loosened to take into account the floods.
It is the first time the bank has lowered the policy rate this year,Windows Screen, which had been rising steadily since December last year to combat inflation.
Other institutions have lowered their economic growth forecasts this year to no more than 2%.
The government is trying to revive the economy, telling the Government Savings Bank to issue loans of up to 15 billion baht to industrial estates to build permanent floodwalls and another 40 billion baht to companies in the flooded industrial estates so they can get on their feet again.
Meanwhile, chairman of the strategic committee for reconstruction, Virabhongsa Ramangkura, has gone to Britain to tell re-insurance companies that Thailand is serious about averting future flood threats, while Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong went to Japan to persuade investors to continue investing in Thailand.
The cabinet this week also backed a Finance Ministry proposal to allow Honda to import built-up vehicles with no import tariffs after the firm’s factory was inundated by floods.
Post Today said ordinary Thais affected by floods appeared to be getting a poor deal, with the government approving flood relief for affected households of 5,000 baht each, or in cases of total disaster, 30,000 baht.
The newspaper asked why they were not given personal income tax exemptions for a year, or allowed to deduct from tax their expenses in restoring their homes.
Meanwhile, signs are emerging that commercial banks will extend only limited relief to flood-hit businesses.
They are likely to extend the repayment period for those businesses,防洪墙-镀锌丝, but withhold approving new loans as many lack adequate collateral or guarantors.
Post Today said a drop in economic activity caused by the floods may last at least six months.
National Economic and Social Development Board forecast last month that the economy will contract by 3.7% in the fourth quarter, down from a previous projection of 5% before the floods, depressing annual growth to 1.5% from the earlier projection of 3.5% to 4%.
The newspaper said while Thais are likely to spend their savings on restoring flood-damaged homes and businesses, which could help boost growth, overall spending might not increase if consumers lack confidence. Meanwhile, retailers may have to resort to sales and promotions to stimulate consumer demand.
A year of disasters
This was a year of natural disasters with earthquakes, droughts and floods affecting various corners of the Earth, noted Post Today.
The climactic weather events curtailed food production, which hurt the the world’s poor.
The World Bank 2011 report says about 44 million people in developing countries are extremely poor, as about 75% of their income goes on food. In 2010, a heat wave in Russia and Ukraine devastated wheat fields, resulting in the global wheat price rising 60-80% in July and August that year.
Sorghum in Somalia rose 393%, while corn in Ethiopia and Kenya rose 191% and 161% respectively due to droughts in the region. Tropical storms and typhoons in the Asia-Pacific region destroyed rice crops in Vietnam,stainless wire mesh, Cambodia and Thailand, raising the grain price 25-30% in September-October this year compared to the same period last year.
However, the Food and Agriculture Organisation is sure the global rice price will not rise as much as other grains because big rice producing countries such as China and India have brought in abundant rice crops this year. Another UN report warned global grain production is falling due to deteriorating soil conditions caused by fertilisers.
Military Barriers/Hesco Bastions
The QIAOSHI’s Military Barriers or Hesco Bastions is a modern gabion used for flood control and military fortification. It is made of a collapsible metal wire mesh container and heavy duty fabric liner, and used as a temporary to semi-permanent dike or barrier against blast or small-arms. One of the less heralded life- and labor-saving devices of war, it is used on nearly every United States Military base in Iraq as well as on NATO bases in Afghanistan.
Originally designed for use on beaches and marshes for erosion and flood control, the Hesco Bastion quickly became a popular security device in the 1990s.
Assembling the Hesco Bastion entails unfolding it and (if available) using a front end loader to fill it with sand, dirt or gravel. The placement of the barrier is generally very similar to the placement of a sandbag barrier or earth berm except that room must generally be allowed for the equipment used to fill the barrier. The main advantage of Military Barrier, strongly contributing to their popularity with troops and flood fighters, is the quick and easy setup. Previously, people had to fill sandbags,Accused flood donation hackers caught-hexagonal wire meshes, a slow undertaking, with one worker filling about 20 sandbags per hour. Workers using Military Barrier and a front end loader can do ten times the work of those using sandbags.
The Hesco Barrier come in a variety of sizes. Most of the barriers can also be stacked,Lurking danger of flood-damaged buildings-Hesco barrier, and they are shipped collapsed in compact sets. Example dimensions of typical configurations are 46″ x 36″ x 32 (1.4m x 1.1m x 9.8m) to 7 x 5 x 100 (2.1m x 1.5m x 30m).
A new system of Hesco Bastion developed specially for military use is deployed from a container,Heavy Type Hexagonal Mesh, which is dragged along the line of ground where the barrier is to be formed, unfolding up to several hundred meters of barrier in minutes, ready for filling with soil by a backhoe.
Filled with sand, 60 centimetres (24 inches) of barrier thickness will stop rifle bullets and shell fragments. It takes 1.5 metres (five feet) of thickness to prevent penetration by a rocket propelled grenade round. Approximately 1.2 metres (four feet) of thickness provides protection against most car bombs.
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