CHIANG RAI – Disaster Prevention and Mitigation office in Chiang Rai had declaired six districts in Chiang Rai ‘Cold Disaster’ areas after the temperature dropped below six degrees Celsius in some hilltop locales.
Disaster Prevention and Mitigation office in Chiang Rai, said temperatures in the lowlands were only 10 degrees Celsius for three consecutive days whereas the temperature in the highlands plunged to 6 degrees Celsius.
The districts of Wieng Papao, Mae Suai, Phan, Doi Luang, Wieng Kan and Mae Fa Luang have been declared cold disaster areas. In Mueang district, staff at the Chiang Rai ASEAN Flowers Fair were seen making bonfires to keep warm.
The provincial administration and local administrative organizations were moving in to assist those living in the highlands and who are facing intense cold.
Meanwhile, The Minister of Interior has ordered 12 provinces to provide assistance to citizens affected by the weather in the winter disaster zones and to work on prevention measures.
The Minister of Interior Gen Anupong Paochinda has revealed that since November, there are 101 districts in 12 provinces, namely Mae Hong Son, Loei, Chiang Mai, Phetchabun, Nan, Uttaradit, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Phanom, Phayao, Sakhon Nakhon, Nong Bua Lam Phu, and Kalasin, that have been declared winter disaster zones.
He said that all affected provinces have been ordered to provide assistance operations to the affected people, to distribute winter clothing thoroughly, and to come up with prevention measures for common disasters that happen during winters such as fire, wildfire, fog, diseases, road accident due to low visibility, and accidents from tourism.
Director-General of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) Chatchai Promlert said that the department has ordered all related provinces to set up the provincial operation centers for winter disaster watch as the main coordination agency in helping the affected people.
He said that officials are now closely monitoring the weather conditions. However, the public is advised to exercise more caution while dealing with fires as the dry and windy conditions of winter can cause the fire to spread quickly and uncontrollably.Drivers should turn on their headlamps and fog lamps, avoid driving fast, and keep some distance from the vehicle ahead to reduce the risk of accidents under the current weather condition, said the DDPM Director-General.