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Thailand Live Saturday 29 Oct 2011

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Thailand Live Saturday 29 October 2011

News, Bits and Tweets

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Keep up to date with live updates from the news, hour by hour.

For breaking news,national, regional and international news updates on a daily basis only, this thread is closed to commentary so that those who wish to follow the news can find it here...

Commentary is still open for Thailand news in the relevant thread posted in News Clippings.

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Related topic: Thailand Live Friday 28 Oct 2011

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Their Majesties tell military to help flood-hit people

The Nation

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Their Majesties the King and Queen are concerned about the welfare of Thais in the wake of flooding and have asked the military to do its best to help them, Army commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha said yesterday.

Speaking during an inspection visit to an Air Force facility that provides relief support and shelters to flood evacuees, the general called on the public to trust that the military would never give up on helping them.

He urged people to stay strong mentally. He said the flood victims would be best helped if they gathered in large groups after leaving their inundated homes.

"Although the military never neglects its responsibility of serving the public, soldiers cannot reach out to every single home and help all occupants. The flood victims need to manage themselves and gather in large groups so that delivery of relief supplies or evacuation can be made easier," he said.

Referring to Their Majesties' concern for the Thai people, Prayuth said both the King and Queen had asked the military to do its best to help the flood victims. "Although the King is not so well, he has always been concerned about Thai people, but his health is improving," he added.

Most residents of Nonthaburi, which is entirely flooded, have been evacuated but some have opted to stay in their homes worrying about possible theft and break-ins. A campaign is underway to encourage them to leave their homes willingly and be relocated to shelters.

Defence Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha, who led the inspection trip, said Nonthaburi residents whose homes were under low water levels would not be immediately relocated to other provinces as local shelters could hold many more of them, and there were sufficient barges transporting them around.

According to briefings by Nonthaburi authorities, the flood- water level, though high, has been stable and the situation in general is under control, except in the newly flooded Sai Noi district, where residents and farmers are unused to flooding.

The Army is deploying more of its resources, in addition to 50,000 troops and 1,000 vehicles. The extra assets are another 178 trucks, 18 bulldozers, 20 water tankers, five field kitchen units and 12 trailer trucks, along with the Navy's 2,510 barges, 10 cargo ships, and a number of other boats. There are also eight medical units, eight counselling teams and three aircraft assigned to fly relief-related flights.

The military have begun restoration work in Nakhon Sawan where flood waters have receded, Prayuth said. He was referring to a four-step action plan - prevention, assistance, evacuation and restoration.

He said residents in less flooded Bangkok districts needed to help themselves at a certain level because troops assigned to heavily flooded districts were limited in number and feeling exhausted because of the long duration of hard work.

Acting National Police chief Priewpan Damapong said police in provinces where flood levels were stable had been assigned to help with flood prevention while maintaining their crime-prevention role. Border Patrol and marine police have been ordered to work closely with the military and civilian authorities in flooded provinces.

In Samut Prakan, the local police have been ordered to protect the watergates, floodgates and barriers from being destroyed by disgruntled villagers, he said.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-29

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Upcountry centres ready to accept more Bangkokians

The Nation

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Evacuation centres upcountry will be able to shelter about 103,000 more flood victims from Greater Bangkok, according to the Flood Relief Operations Centre.

There are now 72 evacuation centres in various provinces including Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi and Phetchaburi.

To date, they have already sheltered 2,076 flood-hit residents of Bangkok and its adjacent provinces.

A major flood is threatening to rage through the capital within days.

Meanwhile, a team from an overseas-based charity organisation known as ShelterBox started handing out relief-item boxes to flood-hit Thais in Lop Buri and Ayutthaya.

Each box contains many useful items including a mosquito net, a big tent, a blanket, a portable water purifier and kitchen utensils.

Those in need of the survival kits provided by ShelterBox should call 085-140-1837.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-29

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Water from Laos cleared for shipment

The Nation

A number of 192,000 drinking water bottles worth a total of US$32,000 have been cleared for transportation to the National Stadium.

The water, passing Nong Khai customs checkpoint at 4pm on Friday, is part of aid from Laos to its neighbouring country.

They will be transported to the National Stadium, one of government centres for donations, by eight trucks. Supporting the donation include Beer Lao Co Ltd and Dao Ruang Co Ltd.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-29

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2,800 workers lose their jobs

The Nation

Of the 740,000 or so flood-affected workers, more than 2,800 have lost their jobs, though many businesses have said they will continue hiring more than 280,000 workers, the Department of Labour Protec-tion and Welfare said yesterday.

There are also about 600,000 migrant workers who are stranded in flooded areas waiting for relief supplies, and many face salary cuts due to losses incurred by their employers, an advocacy group said yesterday.

The 2,893 workers whose jobs have been terminated were given full compensation. Of them, 343 were part-time employees with three companies, while the rest were full-time staff with six large firms.

Most of the migrant workers are based Ayutthaya, where hundreds of factories and several industrial estates are inundated, said Arthit Issamo, the department's director-general.

The largest lay-offs were at Canon in Ayutthaya, which terminated the employment of 1,979 people who had been working there for less than a year, and spent Bt51 million in total compensation. Arthit said Canon, among other companies, was ready to rehire the workers once the floods receded.

So far, 18,703 businesses in 19 provinces and 741,148 workers have been affected, and he predicted that more people would be laid off, adding that the figures would be clearer after October 31. A total of 435 business in Ayutthaya have promised not to lay off 287,844 workers, but many were only able to pay 75 per cent of the salary.

As for migrant workers, Migrant Working Group director Roysai Wongsuban said there were no updates about their condition, except that about 600,000 of them worked in flooded provinces.

He said most were not fluent in Thai and many could not read the language, so were unable to follow instructions, while the authorities were only helping Thai citizens.

Labour Minister Phadermchai Sasomsap said 421 migrant workers had been given shelter in Wat Rai Khing in Nakhon Pathom, while two more shelters would be set up in Nakhon Chaisri and Kamphaeng Saen districts.

Police have been told not to arrest or fine migrant workers who have to move outside their areas without permits to flee floods. Some 50,000 migrants have left Thailand to avoid flooding, Phadermchai said.

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-- The Nation 2011-10-29

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