$4 billion Thai flood rehabilitation package announced

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday announced a Bt100-billion (S$4 billion) flood rehabilitation package.

She said the government has set aside an initial Bt100 billion to restore homes and government offices damaged by flooding. The budget would be spent on measures and systems that could protect major economic areas from future floods, she said.

Nakhon Sawan and Ayutthaya - where flood waters were receding - would be the first in line for rehabilitation, the PM said during her weekly radio address "Yingluck Government Meets the People". The premier said the Cabinet would discuss the flood rehabilitation plan on Tuesday to fix basic infrastructure, roads, hospitals, schools and residential areas, including rehabilitation of the agricultural and industrial sectors.

She also said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Royal Irrigation Department had affirmed that if the drainage plan ran smoothly, most areas in eastern Bangkok could be spared from flooding. However, she urged residents on the capital's western Thon Buri side to be patient for a week or two as water would recede slower than in the east.

Yingluck choked back tears yesterday as she visited Nakhon Sawan, which was one of the provinces hard hit by floods but where the situation has eased.

Nakhon Sawan's governor said the province has granted 34,125 families affected by the flood Bt5,000 each, costing a total of Bt170 million.

Farmers whose rice farms were flooded have been given compensation totalling Bt372 million covering 150,545 rai out of 903,400 rai which were flooded. Another Bt1.45 billion will be given to affected farmers before November 15. Flood victims whose houses are damaged would get a maximum of Bt30,000 compensation for repairs by the end of the month. The PM granted Bt182 million for 36,498 families affected by floods.

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