- (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom)
Officials in Thailand have announced a three-part plan to help the flood-tattered nation recover from its worst flooding in 50 years.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced in a nationally televised address that the recovery program would include rescue, restore and rebuild stages.
Shinawatra said the Thai government will work to restore international investors’ confidence and work to help those who experienced losses in the flooding, which includes small and medium-sized businesses.
The flooding, which began in July, is blamed on more than 500 deaths, displacing more than 100,000 people, closing more than 1,000 factories and soaking at least 10 percent of the country’s farmland.
The government will focus on immediate responses to the disaster, flood relief officials said. The first steps in the recovery process will include issuing loans and providing other financial assistance.
The long-term efforts of the recovery process will focus on restoring the nation to its pre-flood economic status and urging businesses to rebuild, officials said.
The closures have sparked worldwide supply shortages in several industries, including automotive, electronics and food.
Honda, Toyota and other automakers have decreased productions in plants in the United States and Europe due to a parts shortage caused by the closure of Thai factories. Prices of computers are also beginning to spike across the globe as hard drives previously made in Thailand increasingly in short supply.
The nation, one of the largest producers of rice in the world, has seen much of its farmland flooded, worrying analysts about a potential food shortage and spike in prices.
“This is still an unfolding situation, but the impact on global trade and inflation may be greater than expected,” Jimmy Jean, economic strategist with Desjardins Capital Markets, previously told the Financial Post.
Thai officials hope to minimize the long-term effects of the floodwaters by acting now to implement a plan for a speedy recovery. Thai officials will issue immediate aid to people whose homes and businesses have been destroyed.
"This disaster is the biggest that we have ever met. We're trying to cope with situation and help as much as we can," Shinawatra said. "We can't stop all flooding but we will try to reduce the impact."
Flooding, while decreasing in the northern provinces of the country, is expected to continue for another month in Bangkok, officials said.