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24 October 2011

Flooding of wide parts of Thailand

As the three month long flood crisis continues in Thailand with a death toll of 320 and many homeless, its radio amateurs are providing essential communication links with landline and mobile phone services affected.

Most activity is through the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST) club station HS0AC in Bangkok while HS0AB at a special flood relief centre at Don Mueang airport on 7.060 and 7.063MHz, plus local working on the 2m band.

Nearly nine million are affected as 27 of the country's 77 provinces are still inundated.

The economic cost of destroyed shops, closed factories and affected farmland is put at $3 billion. The heavy monsoon earlier rain hit Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines.

Thailand is among the world’s leading makers of hard drives. Western Digital is closed and Seagate warns it could face parts shortages. The computer and TV set-top industries are poised for a high level of disruption.

The motor industry plants that serve Toyota, Sony and Honda have also been hit by the worst flooding in 60 years. A wide area of agricultural land and houses are under water.

Authorities are hampered by a high sea tide and are opening Bangkok’s flood-gates to alleviate the current situation north and around the capital.

It predicted that with help it will take a year for Thailand to start showing firm signs of recovery from the disaster.

- Amateur Radio Victoria