Damage to Thailand's huge automotive sector from the vast floods currently sweeping the country has been estimated at US$13bn, with military help now mobilised to protect Bangkok.

Thailand's automotive industry is one of the country's largest behind sectors such as electronics which is also reporting a significant financial impact as the water creeps higher.

The extent to which companies have been affected can be gauged by the Thai government's decision today (27 October) to order soldiers from all units to assist areas at risk from flooding, with reports vehicle manufacturers have benefited from army assistance in building levies.

"Last week we did an estimate of the damage - it is THB400bn (US$13bn) of damage only for the automotive [sector] - it is a rough estimation," a reliable source with knowledge of the car industry told just-auto from Bangkok. "That is the estimate so far.

"We try to ask every [automotive] company to estimate the damage. [It] is very hard to tell because they need to inspect the factories first."

The source added most government offices were closing today for a week as employees increasingly struggle to travel to work while a five-day holiday has also been declared by the government.

Government ministries involved with the auto business are assisting companies to try and find alternative premises in which to trade although it appears available space is being snapped up quickly.

"Most companies will see what machines they can repair," the source told just-auto. "It [depends] on the nature of the industry.

"Electronic machines certainly you can't repair, but for press or other machines they can do it and repair."

Defence minister general Yuthasak Sasiprapa has instructed army officials to work with police in protecting flood walls in eastern Bangkok.

The Thai navy has also been told to secure the embankment at the flood gate by the Thawi Watthana canal to protect the city from severe floods.