Thai government seeks $11.12 billion budget for new flood plan

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 24, 2011 7:58 AM

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's government will seek cabinet approval next week for a 350 billion baht (7.2 billion pound) budget for infrastructure and water management to prevent a repeat of the country's recent flood crisis, a top official said on Saturday.

The government's post-flood rehabilitation taskforce would propose the budget for flood prevention and infrastructure upgrades to restore investor confidence as soon as possible, the head of the taskforce, Veerapong Ramangkuland, said in a televised speech.

Veerapong said the fund would allow the government to raise and allocate necessary funds to fast-track the work and prevent further damage to the economy.

So far, the government has put flood-related damages at 1.3 trillion baht ($41.5 billon) from the historic floods, which came in late July and lasted until late November, killing more than 600 people and affecting about 2.4 million more in a third of the country's provinces.

The industrialized provinces on the northern fringes of Bangkok were the worst affected, causing huge damage to hundreds of foreign-owned factories and disruptions to global supply chains, particularly in the automobile and IT sectors.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Saturday the integrated water management plan would be completed in January.

The cabinet has already approved 20.1 billion baht in emergency spending for post-flood rebuilding on December 12, part of a previously pledged 130 billion baht for the recovery effort.

($1 = 31.25 baht)

(Reporting by Kitiphong Thaicharoen; Writing by Viparat Jantraprapaweth; Editing by Martin Petty and Paul Tait)