Monday, January 9, 2012

Furious flood victims revolt

Angry residents in Nonthaburi's Bang Yai district yesterday blocked a section of Kanchanaphisek Road, demanding the government speed up flood repair relief.
Damage control
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra inspects a bridge damaged by floods in tambon Krungching in Nop Phi Tham district of Nakhon Si Thammarat yesterday. The Democrats had complained about the government’s slow flood relief in the South, a party stronghold. PHONGTHAI WATTANAVANITVUT
The government has promised to pay 5,000 baht a household in flood compensation to qualifying homeowners, but the protesters say payments have been too slow to arrive.
About 100 protesters blocked the outbound lanes of Kanchanaphisek Road at the entrance of Soi Kanthana in Bang Yai district.
The protest caused heavy traffic congestion on the main road and the adjacent Chimplee-Bang Yai expressway.
Pol Lt Col Thannaphan Chalermpatcharapornkul, inspector at Bang Yai police station, said the protesters claimed they were still waiting for their cheques.
Most lived in the National Housing Authority's Ua Arthon complex, which was hit by the recent flooding.
The protest, which lasted several hours, ended after the provincial authorities agreed to consider their demand for an expedited payment.
Meanwhile, most flood-hit residents find the government's offer of 5,000 baht inadequate to repair their damaged homes, according to the latest Abac poll.
The survey on financial burdens carried by flood victims during the post-flood restoration period was carried out between Dec 15 and Saturday.
A total of 1,738 residents in Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Ayutthaya, Nonthaburi, Ang Thong, Suphan Buri, Lop Buri and Nakhon Sawan were interviewed.
The poll found 68% of respondents paid an average of 37,022 baht to repair their homes, with one person paying up to 500,000 baht.
Asked how they financed the repairs, 84.2% said they used their own savings while the rest said they borrowed money from loan sharks or from approved financial institutions.
The survey found 59.5% insisted the government's 5,000 baht flood compensation was not enough, while 40.5% said the amount was adequate.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the government must establish an insurance fund to restore investors' confidence.
Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said he was unsure if the government's plan to spend huge sums on averting future floods would work.