Thailand approves $648.5 million post-flood budget

December 8th, 2011 - 1:17 am ICT by BNO News  

BANGKOK, THAILAND (BNO NEWS) — The government of Thailand on Tuesday approved a Bt 20 billion ($648.5 million) budget for the country’s post-flood reconstruction efforts, local media reported on Wednesday.

Thai Government spokeswoman Thitima Chaisang told the MCOT news agency that the cabinet has approved the budget, which includes the 20 billion baht ($648.5 million) budget for infrastructure and a second budget of 19.7 billion baht ($638 million) for restoring quality of life.

In addition, the Foreign Ministry’s proposal to waive the 3-month visa fee charged to foreigners visiting the country with the purpose of participating in rehabilitation missions to help restore the affected regions such as businessmen, experts and engineers, was also approved by the cabinet.

Among the restoration targets is the Don Mueang Airport as well as roads, educational institutions, government offices and religious and historical sites across the country, which will count with a budget of 12.9 billion baht ($418 million). The remaining 6.8 billion baht ($220 million) will be allocated to 198 projects of six ministries to improve the public’s quality of life.

Thailand has been hit by unusually heavy monsoon rains in the past months, killing more than 600 people in flood-related incidents and affecting thousands of villages. Currently, about one-third of Thailand’s provinces are affected. The year’s flooding has already caused 1.4 trillion baht ($44.6 billion) in damage.

In April and May, Thailand was also hit by flooding in the country’s southern region, causing billions in damages to their fishing industry, industrial sector, tourism, and business and trade, among other areas.

Late last month, officials forecast that the year’s flooding would slash Thailand’s economy by around 1.2 percent.

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