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Wildfire damages over 2000 rai in national park

Greeley Pulitzer

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Wildfire damages over 2000 rai in national park | The Thaiger
PHOTO: - The Nation
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A wildfire yesterday morning in the Phu Kradueng National Park in the northeastern province of Loei damaged more than 2000 rai, mostly pineforest and grassland. Adisorn Hemthanont, chief of the park’s wildfire extinguishment unit, made the announcement today.

“A dozen staff tried to extinguish the fire but the strong winds blew fireballs across the fire barrier and [they] landed about 400 metres from Mesa Cliff. At around 11am, the bushfire spread quickly around Mesa Cliff, covering a large area.”

Adisorn says more than 130 staff from the extinguishment unit, park officials and volunteers used three tractors and four water trucks, working all afternoon and into the night to build a barrier to prevent the fire spreading. The blaze was reportedly brought under control at around dawn today.

Phu Kradueng National Park is in Si Than subdistrict, Loei province. It’s one of Thailand’s best known national parks, with a high point of 1,316 metres at Khok Moei and a total area of 348 square kilometres. It’s famous for beautiful sandstone cliffs, scenic viewpoints and a variety of tropical flora and fauna.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Thai Life

Thailand’s reservoirs and dams reaching critically low levels

Anukul

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Thailand’s reservoirs and dams reaching critically low levels | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: scmp.com

The start of the annual wet season isn’t far away, maybe this month, but Thailand’s water sources are running on empty.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported today, that Thailand has seen a large drop of useable water in dams and reservoirs by an average of 30% of their capacity, due to the lack of rain in the first three months of the year.

“21 dams in provinces of Lampang, Tak, Uttaradit, Chiang Mai, Uthai Thani, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Udon Thani, Buriram, Suphan Buri, Lop Buri, Chachoengsao, Nakhon Nayok, Chonburi and Rayong have reported critically low water levels. Meanwhile, 187 reservoirs nationwide also reported water levels at below 30% including 50 reservoirs in the North, 100 in the Northeast, 33 in Central and four in the South.”

“It is expected that 6,065 villages in 139 districts and 714 subdistricts are currently being affected by the drought.”

So far there have been reports that 23 provinces declared as drought areas requiring emergency financial support by the Ministry of Finance. These provinces include Phayao, Nan, Chiang Rai, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Phetchaboon, Uthai Thani, Nongkhai, Nakhon Sawan, Beung Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Kalasin, Mahasarakham, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram, Chaiyaphum, Sisaket, Chainat, Kanjanaburi, Suphanburi, Chachoengsao, and Prachinburi.

Phuket reservoirs are also at critically low levels, only surviving because of the drop in tourists to the island since January.

Songkran, the Thai New Year, on April 13, is usually the annual celebration of the end of the country’s hot season and the start of the annual wet season. The formal celebrations for Songkran have been postponed by the Thai government.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Air Pollution

Chiang Mai chokes as fires rage in the north of Thailand

Greeley Pulitzer

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Chiang Mai chokes as fires rage in the north of Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand Today

Northern Thailand is choking under a toxic shroud and it’s not getting any better. Air pollution across the upper North remains “at critical levels,” in many areas, including some of the main population centres. Authorities are monitoring almost 400 active hotspots in Chiang Mai alone yesterday.

The air quality didn’t improve this morning, with IQAir recording “very unhealthy” air quality and hazardous PM2.5 dust levels at around 200 in parts of Chiang Mai and up to 270 around Chiang Rai today (below).

Thailand’s official safe level is 50: the World Health Organisation sets it at 25. Though it’s improved somewhat during the day, Chiang Mai once again rated world’s worst for air quality.

According a 2019 report, PM2.5 caused 23,800 premature deaths in Thailand in 2017.

Government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat says fires have definitely affected air quality, with 17 provinces in the North reporting an increase in levels of PM2.5 pollutants yesterday. Only two, Nakhon Sawan and Uthai Thani in the north-east reported PM2.5 readings below the Pollution Control Department’s “safe” threshold.

Chiang Dao district in Chiang Mai reported the highest PM2.5 reading in the North yesterday at 360.

Narumon says the worsening pollution is due to a combination of factors which include arson, drought and wind patterns which trap pollutants right over Thailand. Others say agribusiness, with its annual plantation field burnings, continues to exacerbate the problem.

Chiang Mai chokes as fires rage in the north of Thailand | News by The Thaiger

According to satellite data, on Saturday there were 3,809 hotspots in Thailand, 5,061 in Laos and 10,061 in Myanmar. As of yesterday, 398 hotspots, nearly 10% of the country’s total, were found in Chiang Mai.

Most of the blazes were related to a continuing bushfire in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, which suddenly raged out of control late on Saturday after burning for about a week.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Environment

Potential catastrophe facing Thailand’s elephant camps

The Thaiger

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Potential catastrophe facing Thailand’s elephant camps | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Saengduean “Lek” Chailert with her elephants

Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, along with many other camps in Thailand, have been forced to close their doors due to the current Coronavirus situation in Thailand. Apart from resulting in hardship for the elephants, it will seriously hurt Thailand’s tourism industry in the future if no support is forthcoming soon.

And whilst we’re hunkering down in our homes waiting for the virus crisis to pass, what becomes of the elephants?

Saengduean “Lek” Chailert, owner of Elephant Nature Park and founder of Save Elephant Foundation, believes many of the closures will be permanent.

“I have been to visit many of the camps and the situation is very serious.”

“The elephants have been chained up since the tourists stopped coming. They are very stressed and upset. Some have started to attack each other from being chained up all day and several have bite wounds as they are fighting over food. The pregnant elephants are also stressed and not doing well at all.”

What does that mean for the future?

“If there is no support forthcoming to keep them safe, the elephants will either starve to death or may be put onto the streets to beg. Alternatively, some may be sold to zoos and some may be returned to the logging business (which officially banned the use of elephants in 1989). It’s a very bleak outlook unless some financial help is received immediately.”

At Elephant Nature Park, which houses more than 3000 animals, many disabled or emotionally unstable, a frantic fund-raising effort is underway for food and medical needs. Some of the elephants need intensive, regular veterinary care.

Lek thanked donors on her Facebook page saying…

“I have been in touch with more than 30 elephant camp owners to help them find a way out. My ability to help these animals is an extension of your generosity, I cannot do it without your help. There is no amount too big or too small to impact the lives of these animals. 100% of each donation is tax deductible and goes directly to Elephant Nature Park. I will share these donations with elephants in other camps as appropriate.”

HOW TO DONATE

TRUNKS UP is a certified supporting organisation which is currently MATCHING all donations, dollar for dollar, up to US$45,000. Donations can be made via the site.

Where the money will go…

  • US$30 will feed an elephant for a day
  • US$20 will feed a dog or cat for one week
  • US$10 will feed a pig, cow or buffalo for one week
  • US$8 will feed a monkey for one week
  • US$5 will feed a rabbit for one week

Potential catastrophe facing Thailand's elephant camps | News by The Thaiger

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