CHIANG RAI – Citizens of 17 villages in Mae Suai sub-district of Mae Suai district in Chiang Rai province are in fear after cracks appeared in a local mid-sized dam and aftershocks continue after the big earthquake in the province two months ago.
The Seismological Bureau reported another small quake, this time of 2.9 magnitude, centered 12 kilometers underground in Mae Suai district at 3.42am on Monday.
The continuous aftershocks following the 6.3-magnitude quake in Phan district of Chiang Rai on May 7 prompted representatives of villagers in Mae Suai sub-district to inspect the Mae Suai dam, which forms a medium-sized reservoir, because they live just downstream from the dam.
Local residents fear the dam may burst because since Thailand’s biggest recorded earthquake on May 5 the dam shows cracks on its spillway structures.
Mae Suai district chief Narathip Phromphruek led villagers’ representatives to the dam. Irrigation officials at the dam told them the dam tilted slightly, but remained safe position, and that the cracks might be caused by water pressure.
They were also told the cracked structures were built on rock foundations, separate from the dam structure itself. Repairs were awaiting funds under the fiscal 2015 government budget.
Chin Maneewan and Chalong Mahawut, representing the worried villagers, said after the May 5 earthquake villagers found cracks at the dam, which also leaked slightly. They were now living with fear because aftershocks had continued for over two months.
They wanted authorities to be serious in checking the condition and structural integrity of the Mae Suai dam.
District chief Narathip said he asked representatives of the many concerned organizations, including the Department of Mineral Resources and the Royal Irrigation Department, to examine the Mae Suai dam and give a clear answer to the fearful villagers.