Thai PM pulls out of Apec summit over floods crisis

Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra helps deliver relief supplies to Bangkok residents on 7 November 2011
Image caption Ms Yingluck said that farmers and workers hit by the floods would be compensated

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has pulled out of an Asia-Pacific summit at the weekend to focus on the floods crisis.

Water from inundated central areas is still advancing into parts of Bangkok, threatening two more industrial parks.

On Tuesday Ms Yingluck outlined plans to rehabilitate areas affected by the flooding, which has hit the economy.

More than 520 people have died as a result of the worst flooding in Thailand for half a century.

Schools delayed

Ms Yingluck had been due to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) forum in Hawaii on 12 and 13 November, but she said she had asked her deputy to go instead.

"I think right now all Thais need to help each other," she said.

She announced the establishment of two committees to tackle the effects of the flooding - one to oversee reconstruction and development, the other to look at management of water resources.

Image caption Residents in 12 districts have been told to evacuate as the flooding has encroached

And she said her government was ready to face the challenge of building confidence particularly among foreign investors.

The prime minister also promised compensation for farmers and factory workers, and help for businesses trying to recover from the floods.

But, says the BBC's Rachel Harvey in Bangkok, there was a conspicuous absence of hard figures or a clear indication of where the money will come from.

Meanwhile the flood waters are now about 7km (4.5 miles) from the key business and shopping districts in central Bangkok.

Residents have been told to evacuate in 12 out of the city's 50 districts.

The domestic airport at Don Muang remains closed but the Suvarnabhumi international airport - which is protected by flood barriers - is functioning normally.

Education officials have pushed back the start of the new school term in flood-hit areas by a week to 21 November.

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