Anyone's first concern in a natural disaster is for peoples' lives and livelihood. Even as new Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra admits that her government is essentially overwhelmed by the scale of the disasters there, the widespread flooding—it has affected 27 of the country's 77 provinces—has claimed 317 victims, most drowned, and has caused suffering and hardship for many others. In a story such as this they deserve to be mentioned first, and we offer our condolences to the families affected and our wishes for an end to the crisis.
The flood has also affected a number of Japanese industries that relocated to Thailand seeking cost savings. Toyota, Honda, and Nissan plants have been hit hard. Electronics company Pioneer is one of the two companies that has seen its stock fall the furthest in Tokyo as a result of flood losses. The other, Nikon, confirmed in a statement last week that the first floor of its DSLR plant at Rojana Industrial Park in Ayutthaya Province in Central Thailand is submerged.
Thom Hogan reports that the Ayutthaya plant builds the D3100, D5100, D7000, and D300s bodies, as well as many of the basic bread-and-butter entry-level zooms.
Sony builds all of its DSLRs in the Ayutthaya area, which is about an hour north of Bangkok, although the effects of flooding at Sony plants are not known. In a chart listing the "Effects" of the various companies' damages, Thailand's Nation Multimedia lists the Nikon and Sony plants as having "no prospect of recovery." As the larger company, Sony might have more options for relocating production.
The disaster could have potentially long-term effects on supplies of products and on the economic performance of the various companies affected. Obviously, coming on the heels of the tsunami, this is very bad news for Nikon and other companies that saw repercussions from both disasters. Nikon Japan announced on Monday that it will donate substantial humanitarian aid to its host country Thailand.
Again, we express our sympathy for our Thai readers and all the people of Thailand who find themselves facing distress or who have had their lives disrupted.
(Thanks to Oren)
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.