May 7, 2014

Earthquakes in Chiang Rai

Recent 6.3 scale earthquake in Chiang Rai on the evening of Monday, May 5 2014 (B.E. 2557) was followed by over 200 aftershocks for the past 72 hours. Thousands of homes, buildings, Buddhist temples, were damaged. One person was killed when a wall collapsed.  Some road sections were cracked and subsided, esp. highway 118 linking Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Now a small dam in Mae Sruay district is threaten, while villagers reported leaking of muddy water from nearby water wells.

A tourist's favorite Wat Rongkhun, created by the famous Thai artist, Chalermchai Kositphipat, was also damaged and has been closed for the public. The artist said the temple was only 20 km from epicenter and it could take over 2 years to repair the mural painting and delicate decors, if the structures are found to be sound by engineers. Otherwise it has to be closed indefinitely.

Libraries of Chiang Mai University in the nearby province had their bookshelves toppled. Some people in high-rise building of Bangkok, some 700 km away, could notice the shaking.

The acting cabinet approved preliminary budget of 500 million Baht for disaster reliefs.

Ref: Multiple sources, including Nation Multimedia

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