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Never-ending problems

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As the government struggles to find the money to pay for the flood relief effort, an expert warns drought may be the next problem. 

Hat Yai Municipality in Songkhla province is one of hardest hit areas. Hat Yai Mayor Prai Pattano declared the inundated town a "Red Flag Zone" on Monday. People are stockpiling dried food and taking their belongings, including cars, to higher ground. WEERAWONG WONGPREEDEE

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Struggling to cope

Even before the latest round of flooding in the South, the government was struggling to find ways to pay for the relief effort.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajjiva said he had instructed all ministries to reallocate unspent funds in the 2010 fiscal year, which ended on Oct 31, to rehabilitation programmes for flooded areas.

The prime minister said he was concerned that the 47 billion baht budget earmarked for emergency relief operations for the 2011 fiscal year might not be enough because as much as 20 billion baht would be disbursed in the next two months to help the flood victims.

The figure is now likely to be much higher given the massive damage in southern provinces.

Once source of additional funds could be the Thai Khem Kaeng economic stimulus programme. The government would draw 4.2 billion baht from the programme to help fund the rehabilitation programmes if needed, Mr Abhisit said.

There are other ways to help besides giving out money, however.

Yesterday, the cabinet agreed to allow the Revenue Department to reduce corporate and personal income taxes for businesses and workers affected by the floods as well as for those who make donations to aid flood victims.

That should help this year, but what about the future?

Yesterday,  Anond Snidvongs na Ayutthaya, acting director of the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Gistda) said the La NinaEl Nino climate pattern means Thailand was likely to suffer not only from periodic flooding, but from drought as well.

Mr Anond warned that an extreme and abrupt climate swing could possibly occur after La Nina receded and its flip side, the El Nino event, could follow and cause severe drought.

Thailand should also brace for the onset of the longest cool season in years after the floods.
 
Adapted from stories by Wichit Chantanusornsiri, Somruedi Bangchongduany, Chatrudee Theparat and King-oua Laohong in today's Bangkok Post

inundated – flooded ถูกน้ำท่วม, จมลงใต้น้ำ
stockpile – to collect large amounts of things that may be needed เก็บสะสมไว้ใน
struggle – to try hard to do something that you find very difficult พยายาม
cope – to deal successfully with a difficult situation  รับมือกับ
round – one of a serious of events, activities, etc. รอบ
relief – money, food, medicine etc. that is given to help people in places where there has been a natural disaster, war, etc. เครื่องบรรเทาสาธารณภัย
allocate – to officially give out an amount of or share of something แบ่งส่วน
reallocate – to change the purpose of something previously allocated แบ่งส่วนใหม่
funds – money needed or available to spend on something เงินทุน
fiscal year – the government budget year which begins in November in Thailand, ปีงบประมาณ
rehabilitation – making a system, building, etc., suitable for use again, i.e., bringing it back to a good condition การฟื้นฟูสภาพกิจการ
concerned – worried about something   มีความกังวล
budget – an amount of money able to be spent on something งบประมาณ
earmark – to keep or intend something for a particular purpose
emergency – an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary เหตุฉุกเฉิน
operation – a planned activity involving a lot of people; an activity which is planned to achieve something การปฏิบัติการ การดำเนินการ
disburse – to pay money to someone from a large amount that has been collected for a purpose เบิกจ่าย
victims – people who are killed injured or harmed in some way from an accident, natural disaster, crime, etc. เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย
figure – an amount of money  จำนวนเงิน
massive – very large มหาศาล
source – the place something comes from or starts at, or the cause of something แหล่งกำเนิด
stimulus – a set of programmes, especially government spending programmes, designed to start an economy growing again แผนกระตุ้นหรือฟื้นฟูเศรษฐกิจ
draw – to take money from a fund or account ถอนเงิน
cabinet – the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
Revenue Department – the government department responsible for collecting taxes กรมสรรพากร
corporate – involving large companies  บริษัทใหญ่
income – money that someone gets from working or from investing money รายได้
donation – money or goods that you give to an organisation, especially one that helps people เงินบริจาค
aid – to help ช่วย
acting – doing the work of the usual person in a particular job while they are not there, or until a new person starts ที่รักษาการแทน
La Nina – unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific
El Nino – unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific
climate – the general weather conditions usually found in a particular place สภาพอากาศ
suffer – to be badly affected by a very difficult or unpleasant situation ประสบความลำบาก
periodic – happening repeatedly over a period of time บางครั้งบางคราว
drought – a long period of time when there is little or no rain ความแห้งแล้ง
extreme – much more severe or serious than usual  ที่รุนแรงที่สุด
abrupt – sudden and unexpected, and often unpleasant อย่างกะทันหัน
swing – a change from one condition, emotion, idea, etc to another การเปลี่ยนแปล
recede – to move back; to move further away into the distance; subside ลดลง, ถอยหลัง
flip side – the opposite, less good, or less popular side of something อีกข้าง
severe – very serious and unpleasant รุนแรง
brace for – to get ready for something unpleasant เตรียมรับมือ
onset – the beginning of something, especially something unpleasant การเริ่มต้น กำเริบespecially something unpleasant การเริ่มต้น กำเริบ

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