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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

700,000 People affected in Thailand flooding..

 More rain predicted..

Southern Thailand floods remain serious

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said flooding across southern provinces remained "very serious" as forecasters predicted more rain in some areas.
Prolonged floods across eight provinces have left 27 people dead and three missing since late November, while almost 700,000 people have sought government help, been evacuated or suffered property damage.
"The southern flood situation is very serious now with the unprecedented rainfall so far, especially with Hat Yai city facing problems with drainage, and Pattani province worsened by a high tide," Thaksin told reporters.
Speaking in between meetings of his cabinet on Tuesday, Thaksin said the refusal of residents to move from homes along waterways in Hat Yai was complicating efforts to widen the canals.
"I have learned that during December 21 and 22 there will be more rain from a tropical storm, the last storm of this season," Thaksin said.
Interior Minister Kongsak Vantana said the flood situation in Pattani province remained critical because of water flowing from neighbouring Yala province, which borders Malaysia, and a high tide.
Kongsak said residents of almost 180,000 households in the region, representing about 670,000 people, had suffered property damage or needed help, although waters were receding in Narathiwat and Satun provinces.
"The government has endorsed a budget for reconstruction of up to 800 million baht (19.5 million dollars)" or about 100 million baht per province, Kongsak said.
Government spokesman Surapong Suebwonglee said the cabinet had held a video conference Tuesday morning with eight governors from the flood-hit provinces for an update.
He said the Education Ministry estimated about 560,000 students from 2,200 schools across the region had been affected.
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