CHIANG RAI – The National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) has warned residents in Chiang Rai to brace for possible floods following a series of earthquakes since May.
The center said many areas in the northern province will now become more susceptible to flooding after a major 5.3-magnitude earthquake and a number of aftershocks had altered the flow of water in nearby water sources.
Similar to other cities worldwide hit by earthquakes, Chiang Rai’s tremors can increase risk of flooding through changes to river heights, narrowing of river banks, shallower river beds, and damages to water infrastructure.
According to the Seismology Office’s statistics, minor quakes have been recorded in Mae Lao and Mae Suay districts of Chiang Rai province nearly everyday recently.
A minor earthquake measuring 3.1 on the Richter scale was recorded in Mae Lao district of Chiang Rai province in the North at 8.36am on Wednesday, the Seismology Office of the Meteorological Department reported.
There were no reports of damage or casualties.
On Saturday, Aug 16, Mae Suay district was hit by three quakes with the magnitude of 3.8, 4.1 and 3.2 at 2.03pm, 3.25pm and 4.41pm.
Phra Khru Sunthorn Silpakhom, the abbot of Wat Mae Suay Lung, said the three quakes on Saturday afternoon caused cracks to the walls, pillars and beams of the main chapel.
Meanwhile 31 provinces across the country have battled floods since the rainy season began, with Ubon Ratchathani being one of the worst hit provinces. The NDWC warned that other provinces including Mae Hong Son, Sukhothai, and Tak continue to be very prone to floods.
At the same time, the volume of rainfall this year is significantly lower than that of last year, raising concerns among officials of an impending drought. The center noted that the overall water volume in all major dams in the country stands at 17 percent of their total capacity.
Cloud-seeding operations could be launched over dams soon and the public is urged to use water sparingly.