Thai govt mulls more compensation to quake victims

Thai govt mulls more compensation to quake victims

THAILAND - The caretaker cabinet is considering increasing compensation for earthquake victims in northern Thailand whose houses were completely destroyed.

"The current rate of compensation sets the ceiling at only Bt33,000, which we believe is inadequate," caretaker Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan said yesterday.

A 6.3-magnitude quake rocked northern provinces on Monday evening, causing one death and damaging more than 8,000 houses. About 12 houses were left in ruins.

Charupong said he had already instructed local administrative officials to complete surveys of the quake damage within 10 days.

In a related development, the Government Housing Bank has now offered a six-month interest-free period to its loan recipients whose houses were damaged by the quake. It is also offering soft loans to those who need to repair or reconstruct their houses.

Charupong said relevant officials must pay attention to the mental rehabilitation of quake victims, too.

"Kamnans and village heads must also boost the morale of local people," he said.

The Mental Health Department's teams are now out in action in quake-hit areas to help victims cope with symptoms like depression, anxiety, loss of appetite, and insomnia.

The caretaker government has approved a Bt500-million budget to deal with the impact of the earthquake. Since the main quake, more than 330 aftershocks have been felt. Some measured up to 5.9 on the Richter scale.

In Chiang Rai's Phan district, Phanphittayakhom School director Sanong Sujarit plans to raise funds to dismantle the quake-damaged building in his school's compound.

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