CHIANGRAI TIMES – Everyone wants to have fun during Songkran, Thailand’s New Year celebration and water festival yet the facts and figures relating to accidents and deaths expected are a chilling reminder of how dangerous this event can be.
Rescue units, police and local authorities staged a mock accident on the Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai road as a drill to prepare their employees for the numerous road accidents expected during the days of Songkran.
Nationwide authorities expect up to 400 deaths during Songkran, most in road accidents and approximately 40,000 Songkran related injuries.
Police in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai will set up check-points at major intersections as of April 11 in an attempt to detain drunk drivers.
The Public Health Minister, Dr. Mongkol Na Songkhla, will dispatch more than 30,000 medical personnel and public health officials together with ambulances to provide 24 hour medical attention to people in need during the Songkran Festival.
The Permanent Secretary for Public Health, Dr. Prat Boonyawongwirote, said that the Ministry of Public Health has told hospitals and clinics nationwide not to let their physicians and nurses go on a holiday during Songkran.
Meanwhile The Department of Labor Protection and Welfare is calling for all employers to give their employees 5 days off during the Songkran Festival this year.
Director-General of the Department of Labor Protection and Welfare, Padungsak Thephasdin na Ayutthaya said this year’s official Songkran Festival will start as of April 13th through the 15th. As April 14th and 15th coincide on a weekend, the government requires employers to extend the Songkran holiday by two days until April 17th.