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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     30 October  2011

Thai Flood Update-October 30

Thai PM looks to future
Thailand's prime minister expressed optimism Sunday that the country's worst flooding in a half-century would mostly spare Bangkok, as some dikes overflowed but the capital's defenses otherwise held firm during critical high tides.

Waters were receding from many inundated areas of Thailand after killing 381 people, but the misery remained for several communities still under water and feverish efforts to protect downtown Bangkok continued as runoff from the north pushed through on its way to the Gulf of Thailand.

Rescuers evacuated a heavily pregnant woman stranded in the swamped neighborhood of Thonburi in the northern outskirts of the city.
"We had to get her to hospital," said marine rescue team member Nitipat Mongolpradit.

The network of dikes defending against the city's main Chao Phraya river broke down in at least two neighborhoods as a record high tide pushed up from the gulf, with water spilling into streets as city workers and troops rushed to shore up concrete walls with sandbags.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told residents of Bangkok to be "confident" as she headed into a government crisis meeting, saying there may be overflow into some areas but that it would not cause any great damage.

"We will recover soon," she said.

Holidays not extended

The extraordinary meeting of the Thai cabinet decided not to extend the official holiday as proposed by the Flood Relief Operation Centre.

The Froc wanted the official holiday be extended in order to allow the government to continue fighting against the northern runoff without any obstacle.

But the cabinet considered that such advantage would not take place as the government could not control the private sector. Therefore, the official holiday would be maintained as previously declared.

The government last week declared Oct 27-28 and Monday Oct 31 as an official holiday.

Flood deaths to 281
A total of 381 people were confirmed dead and two people were missing in the floods that have inundated many provinces since July 25, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said on Sunday.

The floods still prevail in 144 districts of 26 provinces, affecting 2,035,119 people, the department said.

The department on Wednesday reported the death toll at 373.

In the eastern part of Bangkok, a total of 27 communities outside floodwalls were inundated by the northern runoff.

They are communities in the districts of Dong Mueang, Sai Mai, Sapan Soong, Laksi, Khlong Sam Wa, Minburi, Nong Chok, Kanna Yao and Lat Krabang.

Growth cut to 2.6 percent
Thailand's economy will emerge from the flood crisis and a slowing world economy with lower economic growth of 2.6 percent this year, says the Bank of Thailand.

However, the central bank expects a rebound in consumption and rehabilitation in the post-flood period will spur private investment to support growth of 4 percent next year.

Northern train services resume

Train services to the north from Bangkok resumed yesterday, while southern train services remain suspended due to flooding of the railway tracks.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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