The Thai Cabinet on Tuesday endorsed additional farmer-assistance measures in a Bt7.2 million budget in the wake of floods which have left 166 persons dead and uncounted damage to farmland and infrastructure, according to Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Theera Wongsamut.
Flooding in much of Thailand is still worrying with water levels rising in canals and rivers, while reservoirs are almost at full capacity.
Another round of floodwaters enveloped a neighbourhood near Ang Thong’s city hall. Baanro community has been under two metres of water as flooding washed beneath a concrete roadway to inundate homes and the city hall. Local authorities extended sandbag embankments in the community Tuesday morning.
Ang Thong’s Praiwan Temple has been under three metres of water, with monks receiving morning alms on a nearby road.
Farmers whose paddy crops were destroyed will receive added compensation of 1,437 baht per tonne of damaged rice and the amount of produce to be compensated has not been limited, the minister said. Farmers will be paid for all kinds of damaged rice seed at the rate of 18 baht per kilogramme per rai 0.4 acres for a maximum amount of ten rai, he added.
Those farmers who harvested their rice prematurely will also receive 1,437 baht per rai and will be initially be paid 2,222 baht per rai in compensation by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives. The government will later approve a budget to repay the bank. Under the additional assistance measures, farmers affected by floods will be able to receive compensation within one month, Mr Theera said.
Ministers responsible for dealing with the flood situation have been instructed to take turns chairing a video conference with governors of the affected provinces until the floods subside.
The instruction was made by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who said that the video conference, to be held on a daily basis, would help speed up the solving of the flood problem affecting many provinces nationwide.
The video conference is scheduled for 09.00-09.30 hr at Government House, linking with the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation and the flood-hit provinces. Results of the conference will be used to assess the flood situation and to enable officials to handle it more effectively.
The Director-General of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Mr. Wiboon Sanguanpong, said that flooding has so far taken about 140 lives, and 23 provinces, mainly in the central region, continue to be affected. The flood situation in the upper part of the country has now improved, and floodwater in the Gulf of Thailand is on the decline.
Prime Minister Yingluck also instructed all relevant agencies to speed up pushing floodwater out into the Gulf of Thailand. She assigned the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation to acquire more tugboats and mobile toilets in response to the needs of affected people. As for the provinces with world heritage sites, the Prime Minister asked provincial governors to pay special attention to protecting them from flood damage.
She wanted agencies involved to work out a plan to help affected people in a systematic manner. The plan starts with the subdistrict level, which reports to the district level, and the district level reports to the provincial level. Then provincial authorities report to the central administration, which forwards the report to the Prime Minister. Efforts to ease the flood situation are based on the principles of “2P2R,” which stands for “preparation, response, recovery, and prevention.”