Thailand to introduce Japan-funded flood forecast system

A Japan-funded flood forecast system will go into full swing in Thailand on Friday, drawing lessons from the massive flooding in the Southeast Asian country in 2011, officials of a Japanese aid agency said Thursday.

The government-linked Japan International Cooperation Agency said the Internet-based system for the Chao Phraya River basin is the first of its kind in the world.

The floods inundated hundreds of factories and other manufacturing facilities, many of them owned by Japanese companies or supplying Japanese firms operating in central Thailand.

To prevent the same problems, JICA started developing the system in July last year under a budget of around 400 million yen and has decided to commence full-fledged operation following testing.

The system will make use of data on rainfall and water levels monitored by Thai authorities as well as data obtained using a Japan-developed "rainfall runoff model" and JICA laser equipment.

Under the system, the public will be notified in English and Thai about water levels on a daily and weekly basis, and flood forecasts for the coming week will be issued, JICA officials said.