The Government has decided to allocate more funds to help in flood rehabilitation and prevention, following the worst flooding in Thailand in half a century. The decision was made by the Cabinet, during its meeting on October 18, when it approved the widening of the budget deficit for the 2012 fiscal year from 350 billion baht to 400 billion baht.
Apart from 80 billion baht set aside for flood rehabilitation programs, another 1.5 billion baht was approved from the central fund of the 2011 national budget as an emergency fund to help flood victims. The Cabinet earlier asked all ministries to cut their regular budget allocations to support flood relief and rehabilitation. The Government has assured the public that economic recovery would begin immediately.
To date, floods have affected 27 provinces, and most unfortunately, more than 300 people have died. Seven industrial estates in Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani provinces have been hit. However, all airports in Thailand, including Suvarnabhumi Airport, have not been affected and are operating as usual.
The Ministry of Culture has set up a hotline on 1765 to help affected people at temples and other religious structures and look after historical sites. A total of 220 historical sites throughout the country have reportedly been hit by floods.
According to a report from the Tourism Authority of Thailand, major tourist destinations, such as those in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Sukhothai, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, Pattaya, Ko Chang, Rayong, Phuket, Krabi, Trang, Ko Samui, and all provinces in southern Thailand are experiencing normal weather conditions. Tourist destinations in the North, such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Sukhothai, are best accessed by air as some roads and railways in the central provinces are closed due to the current flooding. Provinces in southern and eastern Thailand remain fully accessible by road and train.
The Thai government has expressed its gratitude for donations received from various countries, especially China, which donated flood relief supplies and dispatched experienced flood control experts to Thailand to offer useful advice to deal with the flooding situation.
The Chinese Vice-Minister of Water Resources and Secretary-General of the State Flood Control, Liu Ning, also met Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at the Flood Relief Operations Center at Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok on October 18 to present her with a report on the study of flood solutions in Thailand. He commended Thailand for its great efforts to fight flooding and informed that China would send more flood relief supplies to Thailand.
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