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Chiang Rai Residents Remember Earthquake of May 5th, 2014



A Buddhist monk looks at a damaged pagoda after an earthquake at Wat Chedi Laung in Chiang Rai province

A Buddhist monk looks at a damaged pagoda after an earthquake at Wat Chedi Laung in Chiang Rai province


CHIANG RAI – The first anniversary of Thailand’s most destructive earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale with its epicenter in Tambon Sai Khao, Parn district of Chiang Rai was remembered on May 5th, 2015

The earthquake, caused widespread damages to houses, government offices, archaeological sites and roads 609 villages in seven districts of Chiang Rai. Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) in Phan was severely damaged as was Phan Pittayakom School.

Effects from the quake and after shocks were felt in Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Nan, Phayao, Loei, NongKhai and even high rise buildings in Bangkok for months after the initial quake.

The cause of the quake was due to the movement of the powerful Phayao fault line and two small fault lines Mae Lao and Hat Parn.

Dr Thanawat Charupongsakul, chief of natural disaster study and geographic information of science faculty of Chulalongkorn University, said that the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal was unlikely to affect fault lines in Thailand, particularly the Phayao fault line, because the fault lines in Nepal are not connected with the fault lines here.

Even the destructive earthquake in Sumatra which caused the giant tsunami about a decade ago did not affect the fault lines in Thailand, said Dr Thanawat.

He admitted that it could not be predicted whether another destructive quake could strike Chiang Rai or not because of the presence of many fault lines there. So the best preventive measure is to be prepared for the worst, he suggested.

Dr Panya Charusiri of the geology department of science faculty of Chulalongkorn University said that the lesson from the Chiang Rai quake a year ago was that new buildings to be constructed must be strong enough to withstand a powerful quake.

He admitted that it was difficult to predict when an earthquake would strike. He advised people living in areas sitting on fault lines to understand the mechanism of fault lines and to get prepared.

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