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Immediate Assistance to Ease Impacts of the Earthquake in Northern Thailand

May 8, 2014 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

1412692421pThe Cabinet during its meeting on 6 May 2014 formed a committee to provide immediate assistance and ease impacts of the earthquake in northern Thailand.

The committee is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi, who cited the earthquake as one of the strongest Thailand has ever experienced.

The earthquake, with the epicenter in Phan district in Chiang Rai province, occurred at 6:08 p.m. on Monday, 5 May 2014. Following the quake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, there were more than 100 aftershocks up until 7:00 a.m. on 6 May. More than 50 aftershocks were below 3.0 on the Richter scale; 41 were between 3.0 and 3.9; 13 were between 4.0 and 4.9; and five were between 5.0 and 5.9, according to the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

There were reports that the quake and its aftershocks could be felt mainly in the northern provinces of Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Nan, Phayao, and Phrae. People in high-rise buildings in Bangkok also felt the tremor. The famous Wat Rong Khun in Mueang district of Chiang Rai sustained substantial damage and is now closed for repairs.

Mr. Plodprasop said that the aftershocks would last at least three days following the quake. Officials involved are conducting a survey on damage to lives and property caused by the quake. The survey will be completed within 15 days. He stated that the Cabinet is preparing an emergency fund for relief and rehabilitation work. A long-term plan has also been prepared to deal with future earthquakes.

The Ministry of Public Health reported that five hospitals in Chiang Rai and two in Chiang Mai had been affected. However, all of them are now operating as usual. The Ministry has worked out a plan to cope with the earthquake situation in the North and the central region. Health personnel have also been instructed to monitor the situation closely and prepare emergency assistance.

The Chiang Mai Provincial Culture Office has sent officials to survey the damage to historical structures in Chiang Mai. The survey shows that no significant archaeological sites were damaged; only some temples were slightly affected.

According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, major tourist attractions in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, and Lampang were not affected by the quake. Other popular tourist destinations throughout Thailand, including those in the central region, such as Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ko Samet, and Ko Chang, and in southern Thailand, such as, Phuket, Krabi, Khao, Phang-nga, Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao, have not been affected.

Regarding road travel, because of some cracks on roads caused by the earthquake, the Mae Lao – Mae Suai highway between the kilometer markers 151-152 (Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai) has been closed to traffic. Highway 118, or the Chiang Rai – Chiang Mai route, sustained cracks covering a stretch of 50 meters on the kilometer marker 141, leaving only one lane open to traffic. To avoid heavy traffic on this road, the Department of Highways has advised motorists to use other routes, such as the Chiang Mai – Lampang – Phayao – Chiang Rai road, for the time being.

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