– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community
PHUKET: More than 1,000 people whose lives have been disrupted by the floods in central Thailand are at risk of committing suicide, Disaster Mitigation Centre director Phanu Yaemsri said Friday.
Of more than 1.3 million Thais affected by the floods, 1,154 had been found to be suicide risks, he said.
Phanu said The Public Health Ministry had conducted psychiatric checkups on 114,815 people. Apart from those with suicide risk, 7,308 reported feelings of depression and 6,170 said they were under stress. Of these, 5,578 had been given medication while 1,786 were under special monitoring.
At least 533 people have died as a result of the floods and two people are missing.
Some 7,210 villages in 129 districts of 23 provinces are still under water.
PHUKET: The Flood Recovery and Restoration Committee has approved the Bt1.1 billion flood compensation for Bangkok residents and another Bt10 billion for flood-hit villagers.
Deputy Prime Minister and committee chair Yongyuth Wichaidit said some 640,000 Bangkok residents would be entitled for Bt5,000 compensation per family.
Next week the city authorities would start distributing leadlets advising the flood-hit residents on how to apply for the compensation which will paid out by the Government Savings Bank, he said.
In regard to houses destroyed partially or totally by the flooding, the government has yet to map out the compensation guidelines, he said.
PHUKET: The opposition leader yesterday warned the government against having its supporters take a stand against the group planning to sue ruling politicians for their alleged failure to manage the flooding. Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the Democrat Party and former prime minister, said a confrontation like this would only lead to further political conflicts.
He said the government should be ready to undergo scrutiny by the civic sector and get ready to explain its alleged mismanagement of the crisis. Abhisit said the group – led by Chulalongkorn University economist Narong Phetprasert – had every right to sue those they believe are responsible for the disaster.
“Many people believe that this ongoing flood problem cannot be blamed on nature alone and has something to do with management as well. People have incurred damages that far exceed the government’s planned compensation,” Abhisit said.
The opposition leader said that although the authorities insist that more rainstorms than expected had hit the country, the government also stuck by its policy of retaining water in upstream dams for irrigation.
Abhisit also urged the government to place less focus on politicking, especially in relation to the ongoing flood crisis in the capital.
“I appeal for the government to stop politicising issues. They keep blaming the BMA, when in fact they should work together to help the people. This is not the time to get involved in a political conflict. The government should stop playing political games if they want to win public confidence,” he said.
Abhisit also said that he did not think it was time for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down or dissolve the House of Representatives.
“It’s the time to deal with the crisis. Political uncertainty will not benefit the country,” he said.
“The prime minister should show her efficiency in running the country and ensure unity in management and communications. This is the time to win confidence from Thais and the world community,” he advised.
Narong, leader of the group that plans to sue the state, said yesterday that he would speak to the Lawyers’ Council of Thailand on Monday about the scope of the action.
He said the group’s legal advisers agreed that it was possible for the group to file administrative, criminal and civil cases against the authorities, adding that the council had agreed to help them take their cases to court.
Narong said many people affected by the flooding supported his plan to sue the government. He said that though nature was partly to blame for the crisis, the government should also be held responsible for its poor management that resulted in severe floods in many areas of the country.
“The government knew there would be a lot of water this year, but it didn’t do anything to reduce the volumes. Floods were chest-high in some areas and that points to mismanagement of water,” the academic said.
— Phuket Gazette Editors
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