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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     8 November  2011

Thai Flood Update-November 7

New pumps for Bangkok
The Flood Relief Operations Centre (Froc) will provide a total of 71 pumps for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to drain water out of the capital city, Froc director Pracha Promnok said on Monday.

Pol Gen Pracha said that of the 71 water pumps, 48 were bought with Froc's budget from China, 17 borrowed from the Department of Public Works and Town and Country Planning, and six borrowed from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.

The BMA originally asked Froc for 60 pumps.

The water pumps were expected to be in place in 15 days, as some of those from China had not yet arrived, he said.

Jumpol Samphaothong, deputy permanent secretary of the BMA, said the water pumps would be of much help and most of them would be used to drain water out into the Chao Phraya rive.

470 spots underwater
A total of 470 spots in Bangkok are now under 80centimeters of water or more, affecting more than 800,000 people, Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said on Monday.

A survey  by district offices of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration showed this was the case at 95 p[laces in Sai Mai, 81 in Nong Khaem, 71 in Bang Phlat, 48 in Khlong Sam Wa, 34 in Bang Khae, 31 in Min Buri. and the rest in other flood-hit districts.

"The BMA has ordered the district offices and its agencies to pay special attention to these places because a large number of people, especially the elderly, have not evacuated the area," governor MR Sukhumbhand said.

Floodwaters recede
With floodwaters receding, people in Uthai Thai province and in Pathum Thani's Lat Lum Kaeo district have started cleaning up their residences.

As of Monday, the water level near Uthai Thani municipality, crowded with markets and department stores, was continuously receding. Some areas were even dry.

People in the area were seen cleaning their houses and shops as well as fixing belongings damaged during the inundation. Two months have passed since their lives and businesses were brought to a halt by the major flooding.

However communities near the Sakaekrang River and nearby areas are still facing water varying in height from 40 to 80 centimetres. Some areas such as Koh Te Poh, Sakaekrang, Ta

Sung, Namsung and Neonjang precincts are still under 1-2 meters of water and people have to travel by boat.

PM addresses Apec, Asean Summit
Prime Minister Yingluck will explain to the international community about the flood in Thailand at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) and Asean Summit, government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisaeng said on Monday.

Ms. Yingluck will be accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, will attend the 19th APEC meeting Nov 12-14 in Hawaii, US.

The prime minister will take this opportunity to explain to Apec member countries the current flood hitting Thailand and assure them the Thai government will take care of investors affected and to boost their confidence in Thailand's trade, investment and tourism potentials.

Ms. Yingluck will do the same at the Asean Summit on Nov 17-19 in Bali, Indonesia, the spokeswoman said.

Funds for households
The government will allocate more than Bt10 billion (US$321 million) to compensate some 2 million households nationwide affected by the flooding, Federation of Thai Industries president Payungsak Chartsutthipol said Monday.

The affected households would get about Bt5,000 each, Payungsak said after a meeting with the government's rehabilitation committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Kittiratt NaRanong.

The Interior Ministry would register flood-affected people and begin distributing the compensation within two weeks, he said.

Major flooding began to hit the Central region of the country a few months ago, before reaching Bangkok and its suburbs in early October. Millions of households as well as many industrial estates and business centers have been heavily damaged.

Cleaning up will be a headache
Bangkok will face a difficult task getting rid of more than 3 million tons of trash and treating huge volumes of dirty water left behind by the flood.

A key problem is that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration cannot send garbage trucks to flooded areas while 9.4 million people in those areas were expected to generate about 500 kilograms of rubbish each over a number of weeks.

"A suggestion for residents at this moment is to keep the garbage and all kinds of waste above water," Worrasart Apaipong, acting director general of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry's Pollution Control Department, said yesterday.

People were dumping all kinds of flood damaged debris such as stuff made from plastic, books, furniture and electronic devices, while some 500,000 cars were partially submerged and would need to change some parts such as batteries and engine oil, he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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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.

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