NAN – Around 60 families in Ban Huay Khab, a village in Nan’s Bo Klue district hit by a deadly landslide over the weekend, will be resettled for their safety.
On Saturday, a mudslide triggered by persistent heavy rain in the mountainous area killed eight people and destroyed homes in Bo Klue district.
The victims were all family members living in four homes that were crushed by torrents of mud sweeping down a mountain.
Speaking during a visit to the village, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said about 260 people will have to relocate permanently because their current location, nestled in the valley, is dangerous and vulnerable to further mudslides in the event of heavy rain.
Gen Anupong said the entire village must first move out to live in makeshift sites after which local authorities will find land for them to build a new village.
According to Gen Anupong, Ban Huay Khab is currently located in a restricted forest zone, meaning no settlements are permitted.
He said the land plot for the resettlement must meet the criteria laid down by the national land committee, which advocates allocation of unused land to help disadvantaged people.
Currently, villagers affected by the mudslide have been taking shelter at a local school in the district.
Following the tragedy, Nan province governor Paisarn Wimolrat declared Ban Huay Khab a disaster zone and ordered an emergency evacuation.
The government previously instructed state agencies to help find unused land to allocate to disadvantaged people as part of a drive to help the landless poor.
The interior minister has also instructed authorities to speed up a survey of villages at risk of landslides and flash floods and proceed to evacuate them as a precaution.
Gen Anupong has also ordered the governors of the 10 northern provinces of Nan, Phayao, Uttaradit, Phrae, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Lamphun, Tak and Mae Hong Son to come up with emergency response plans because the monsoon season has already arrived.
Third Army commander Lt Gen Wichak Siribansop also said Monday the military is ready and equipped to support government agencies in emergency response or rescue operations.
Meanwhile, health officials from Nan Hospital have paid visits to the survivors of the mudslide at the shelter to help them cope with stress and anxiety after the tragedy.
Ban Huay Khab village head Thanawat Chamrat said the mental health state of several villagers is worrisome and some become very nervous when they hear any loud noises.
“Many are stressed and frightened to return to live in the village,” he said.
By Rarinthon Phetcharoen