Bangkok: As swirling flood waters, mounting
garbage dumps and empty supermarket shelves continued to
torment the flood-hit Thais, the government today laid out a
three-pronged strategy to reconstruct the country following
its worst deluge in decades.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told a press conference
here that the plan would be implemented in three stages and as
a primary step a Flood Relief Operations Command would be set
up to integrate efforts by all agencies to combat the floods
and solve immediate problems.
The floods, worst in decades, have claimed 527 lives and
rendered millions homeless.
Parts of Bangkok and some surrounding provinces were still
flooded, but the floodwater in some areas in the lower north
had begun to recede.
Central downtown Bangkok, home to hotels, malls and high
rise condominiums, is still dry though flood waters were just
a few kms away.
Packaged water and dry food has almost vanished from
supermarket shelves while there is a drop in tourist arrivals.
The country`s domestic airport is under water and closed but
the international Suvarnabhumi airport remains open.
"The country is now entering a stage where remedies and
rehabilitation can restore the people`s confidence. The
government has come up with a strategic plan for national
reconstruction," the prime minister said.
Yingluck, who became Thailand`s first woman premier after
taking office in August, said in the first stage would involve
the flood centre solving various urgent problems, distributing
relief items to the flood victims, and providing medical
treatment for people at all evacuation centres.
The second stage, to be carried out while the floodwater
was receding or after it had receded, would centre on bringing
every system back to normal as soon as possible.
Measures to be taken at this stage included compensation
for damage and loans and other privileges for affected
individuals and the affected business sector.
The third stage involved meting out solutions to solve
problems in the long run and to prepare the country to cope
effectively with climate change and water management.
The handling of the floods has upset people stuck in
flooded areas and a Bangkok Poll today said that Yingluck
received a dismal 4.98 points on average out of ten on her
performance as premier over the past three months.
A Bangkok Post report said floodwaters from the north had
arrived at Yingluck`s residence in Bangkok`s Bung Kum