Whatever it is, one thing is certain, it will be substantial, says Dr.Kriengsak Chareonwongsak, a former MP in Thailand and a noted economist, who taught economics at Harvard and Oxford for almost 30 years.
Current estimates run between $6 and $7 billion but it could be more once all the costs are factored in. There are two main reasons for this, he says: First, the lengthy time period involved with this flood; and second, the extent of the damage it has already done in the country.
For one thing, households will need to renovate. Appliances will need to be either repaired or replaced. And in the industrial sector, the flood has already taken its toll – seven plants so far. Machinery will need to be replaced and this will take time to order and install, to clean up the factories generally and get the whole system running again.
Most are likely to have insurance to recover their losses – with rather serious repercussions for the insurance industry.
“It means the number of people out of work will be substantial as well during this period … and many families will be facing hardship as they try to cope.”
He also noted that Thailand is part of a world-wide industrial supply chain – hard discs, for example. “Many large international corporations have come to depend on Thailand for these products in their manufacturing processes. Many world-wide operations could be affected.”
Thailand’s tourist and spa industry – the country’s bread-and-butter income earner – has also been caught up in this calamity. “About 15 million people come to Thailand every year. But with these and other tourists hearing about the flooding in Thailand continually on CNN, the BBC, Aljazeera TV and other international outlets could cut the number of tourists who traditionally come to Thailand, especially during the peak period in the next few months.
“Hopefully,” he added, “if we can clean up the damage once the flooding has receded – by the end of November – the impact on the tourism/spa sector will be minimized.”
Some damage has already been done. That’s why, economically, “we need good management to deal with this, to be right in our thinking during the post-flood period.”