/Northern Thailand summer storms damage almost 3,000 homes | Thaiger

Northern Thailand summer storms damage almost 3,000 homes | Thaiger

Almost 3,000 homes are damaged after northern Thailand summer storms wreaked havoc in 11 provinces. The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department says Pichit, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai and Nan are among the hardest hit. 1 death was also reported in Nan province when a tree branch fell onto a woman’s car, killing her. 5 others were injured in Nan, Pichit and Surin.

Thailand’s northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima saw the most damage with about 300 houses needing repairs. Surin province followed in seeing the most damages. The Thailand Meteorological Department says summer storms will continue up north until mid-week.

Last week, a summer storm hit the northern Thailand’s Phitsanulok province, causing serious damage in the town and surrounding areas. Houses, shops, and a petrol station were damaged. Area officials say some houses were completely demolished in the storm. Trees toppled the Phitsanulok-Nakhon Thai highway, where traffic was blocked in several areas.

District chief, Nisit Sawasdithep, told Chiang Rai Times that he ordered disaster mitigation authorities to examine the damage so that assistance and relief goods could be rapidly provided for those who were affected the most by the summer storm.

Also in northern Thailand, farmland and forests blaze with abundance (the annual burning season usually lasts from January to April, before the wet season kicks in). Despite increasing cautions against air pollution affecting short and long-term health of residents, the fires don’t show signs of stopping. The government has even issued a no burning ban, but enforcing the ban has proved to be fruitless as such provinces in northern Thailand consist of vast forest lands.

The government helicopter team can only do so much as they set out to locate hotspots and attempt to extinguish them by dropping buckets of water. But crop burning appears to be the cheapest and fastest way to help farmers clear their lands for a new growing season.

Recently, Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Mai has ranked the 3rd most polluted city in the world, according to AirVisual, which gives live updates of rankings. Today, Chiang Mai doesn’t appear in the list of the top 10 most air-polluted cities in the world, according to

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The governor of the northern province of Mae Hong Son says around 2,000 Karen refugees are sheltering in the province as the bloody conflict in Myanmar continues. Sithichai Jindaluang says local officials have provided shelter and other necessities to refugees in the districts of Mae Sariang and Khun Yuam.

Violence in Myanmar has escalated since the military coup of February 1, which ousted the democratically-elected civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Thousands of ethnic villagers were forced to into Thailand when the junta launched air strikes on Karen state. The strikes came during the bloodiest week since the Burmese army began its crackdown against pro-democracy protesters. According to a Nation Thailand report, Sithichai says refugees have been arriving in the Kingdom for several weeks.

“The refugees have been crossing the border since March 11 as the situation in Myanmar started to escalate, and there are now about 2,000 Karen refugees in Mae Sariang and Khun Yuam districts. Thai officials have not only provided shelter and other necessities to the refugees but are also negotiating with those who can return to Myanmar to leave voluntarily. We believe this particular group will return home within 1-2 days.”

He says the Thai government will issue guidelines for how to care for the refugees who are unable to return home at this time.

“As for those who refuse to return or are unable to do so right now, the province will treat them under guidelines to be issued by the Thai government. If the situation in Myanmar worsens and more refugees enter Thailand, the province may consider building a refugee centre, subject to approval by the Interior Ministry.”

According to Sithichai, 7 refugees were injured while fleeing to Thailand, with 3 of them currenty receiving hospital treatment. It’s unclear how they were injured.

“Once the injured have been cured they will either be sent back or sent to join other refugees in Thailand. The province has been following humanitarian principles and international laws in dealing with the Burmese refugees.”

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