PM pleads for cooperation in flood crisis

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BANGKOK, Oct 19 – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday urged all parties to unite to fight flood crisis and pledged to improve flood warnings and information from the government’s Flood Relief Operations Centre to prevent confusion among members of the public.

The prime minister denied that her government is covering up flood information, saying the government has put all out efforts to tackle the crisis.

“This is the major crisis of the nation. I cannot cope with it alone but (can do it only with the) full cooperation from all parties are in need. We must leave politics behind but sort out the problem for our people and boost their morale,” Ms Yingluck told reporters with teary eyes.

The premier made her plea as floodwaters from the North were poised to threaten the capital amid confusion and sometimes panic among the public over FROC’s daily update on latest flood situation.

An opinion poll shows a majority of respondents do not trust the credibility of news coming from the flood centre.

Flooding in the North, Northeast and Central plains has killed at least 317 people since August, mostly from drowning, with more than 2 million people affected and 27 out of 77 provinces are being submerged.

The country’s worst flood in decades damaged 10.3 million rais of farmland in the world’s top rice exporter. Initial estimates of the economic toll from the disaster were 1-1.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).

The cabinet on Tuesday approved an increase in the budget deficit to Bt400 billion ($13 billion) for the 2012 fiscal year starting Oct 1 to fund the post-flood rehabilitation.