Sunday, November 20, 2011

Inner Bangkok will stay dry, PM says

Inner Bangkok will stay dry, PM says

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reassured yesterday that inner Bangkok would be not be flooded, while the government would speed up the process of compensating victims.


The country's post-flood rehabilitation plan had also boosted international confidence in Thailand, Yingluck said in her weekly radio programme, delivered by phone from Bali, where she was attending the Asean Summit.

Yingluck also thanked various countries for providing assistance to Thailand and urged greater cooperation from Asean in tackling disaster and water management, pointing out that many Asean countries suffered from floods.

She said Asean leaders had agreed, saying Thailand's initiative could pave the way for a disaster-operations cen?tre for Asean. Yingluck also thanked various countries including Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, China and the US for their concern and help.

Yingluck said the government would implement a one-year rehabilitation plan from October 2011 to September 2012, as well as long-term measures, to be overseen by the Strategic Committee for Reconstruction and Future Development (SCRF) and the Strategic Committee for Water Resources Management (SCWRM).

She said the government agreed with the guidelines established by Dr Sumet Tantivejkul, secretary-general of the Chai Pattana Foundation and SCWRM adviser, comprising four strategies: rehabilitating water sources and reforestation; finding natural water-retention sources through such activities as dredging canals and preserving "monkey cheek" catchment areas; reviewing and reviving royal initiatives includ?ing the building of a floodway; and reviewing data-collecting methods and existing research.

Yingluck said the flood situation had improved and that inner Bangkok would surely be spared from floods, as the northern runoff was being channelled into the Bang Sue Canal, away from Victory Monument, Pathumwan, Sukhumvit and Silom. As for western Bangkok, drainage of water into the Tha Chin River and the sea could be done at 63 million cubic metres per day, she said, while water in other provinces was subsiding.

She urged infrastructure rehabil?itation to proceed quickly so that life could return to normal in 45 days. She said the government had ordered each affected province to speedily implement remedial measures for relatives of those who died and whose homes were damaged. The premier said farmers would be given a three-year grace period for debt repayments. The plan would be open to farmers owing less than Bt500,000. It started registering participants five days ago.
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