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Cyclone Amphan: Crossed the coast and now saturating India and Bangladesh

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Cyclone Amphan: Crossed the coast and now saturating India and Bangladesh | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Indian Express
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Cyclone Amphan made reached the coastline late yesterday afternoon near the Indian town of Digha, on India’s eastern coast, near the border with Bangladesh. As the storm marched up the Bay of Bengal since the weekend, strengthening, thousands of people were evacuated as a precaution for the major storm system. Millions of other have taken shelter or made their way to government buildings specially prepared.

Al Jazeera were reporting the death toll of 14 people so far as of 7am this morning. 2 of the deaths are thought to be children.

Amphan was measured as a Category 2 storm as it set to cross over the coast with sustained winds of above 160 kph. The storm has been pounding Kolkata, one of India’s biggest cities, which sits on the low-lying coastal delta. Heavy rains and a storm surge are flooding low-lying areas.

But early reports say that the storm’s damage appears to be much less than initially feared. An aid agency based in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, home to 60,000 Bangladeshis plus up to a million Rohingya refugees, marooned in rain-soaked camps, say that the rain has been extremely heavy.

But, at this stage, it appears that the ambitious evacuation efforts and the weakening of the cyclone as the system reached the coast has spared many lives. More will become clear this morning as authorities can properly assess damage and collate reports from outlying areas.

Amphan washed away bridges connecting small Indian islands to the mainland and has stranded areas without power or communications.

At the start of this week regional meteorologists were describing the cyclone as one of the most dangerous storms in decades. The cyclone also arrives as both India and Bangladesh are in the middle of Covid-19 outbreaks and lockdowns. India currently has 112,000+ reported cases and Bangladesh nearly 27,000.

The death toll is expected to rise.

Cyclone Amphan: Crossed the coast and now saturating India and Bangladesh | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand

Thailand’s PM asks people to avoid political gatherings over concerns for their health

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Thailand’s PM asks people to avoid political gatherings over concerns for their health | The Thaiger

Thailand’s PM is asking people to avoid political gatherings over concerns for their health due to the recent cooler weather. As the country is still not out of the woods with the recent Covid-19 breakout, the cold weather, in the northern half of the country, is adding to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s health concerns for Thai people.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri says the situation still warrants the government’s role to exercise its power under the emergency decree and Communicable Disease Act to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

He says all gatherings should be avoided, but is emphasising political ones and is thanking the “majority who have cooperated.” Now, he says the government is set to introduce more measures to help those affected by the new round of Covid and are preparing new economic stimulus programs.

Anucha says another high pressure system from China will cover northern Thailand starting from today and lasting through January 19. The system would see temperatures drop by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius in the northern and central areas of Thailand with the northeastern area seeing a drop of 4 to 6 degrees. PM Prayut has also asked people to be careful when setting up bonfires to keep warm during the cold spell.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Environment

Thailand on fire – NASA satellite website tracks the country’s farm fires

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Thailand on fire – NASA satellite website tracks the country’s farm fires | The Thaiger

Thailand is burning. The burning off of harvested crop plantations is lighting up the agricultural areas. The truth is starkly revealed in the live NASA satellite feeds which track the fires around the world.

Thailand on fire - NASA satellite website tracks the country's farm fires | News by The Thaiger

CHART: Fires in the past 10 days around parts of Thailand – Firms.Modaps

Concentrations of the current fires can be seen in Central Thailand, north of Bangkok, parts of Isaan, north east of Bangkok, and around Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. Notably the concentration of fires in northern Cambodia and across the north-western border in Myanmar, is also causing plenty of problems as the foreign smoke drifts across the borders. No matter what Thai officials do to enforce the rice, sugar and corn plantation burn-offs, there is little they can do about the haze drifting across the borders.

Bangkok, so close to clusters of fires, is in for a bad air pollution day anytime the light winds of the start of the year blow from the north or the east. The lack of rain adds to the problem, the annual problem, that engulfs Thailand’s capital during days between December and April, with the worst month, statistically, being March.

The alternative method of preparing for the next harvest, mechanical removal of the refuse and waste after harvesting, is both unpopular in Thailand and economically unviable for the small farmers whose margins remain thin with the multi-national buyers of their produce pushing for lower and lower prices every year.

In Chiang Mai, from January to the end of March, the locals even call it the ‘burning season’. Coupled with the hot season, the farmers in northern Thailand burn their fields to prepare land for the next harvest and also to get rid of biowastes like corn that can’t be sold in the market. It’s officially illegal to do the burn offs but the lack of enforcement leaves the problem unresolved and the smog and haze remain as predictable as the annual wet season.

Chiang Mai also has a local geographic problem which exacerbates the bad smoke pollution. The city is in a valley, surrounded by hills, trapping in the smoke and helping block any breezes that could otherwise blow it away.

For today, Bangkok’s air pollution is better than the past two days but still registering as ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ with city readings mostly between 140 – 170. Parts of the city, mostly south-east and south west, were registering readings above 300 in the past few days.

Thailand on fire - NASA satellite website tracks the country's farm fires | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: IQair.com

Watch this video for some more information about Bangkok’s smog…

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Thailand

Temperature drop affects Lop Buri’s monkeys

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Temperature drop affects Lop Buri’s monkeys | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pixabay

The quick drop of temperature is affecting thousands of monkeys living around Lop Buri’s Phra Prang Sam Yot and San Phra Kan Shrine. Villagers say monkeys were shivering and cuddling each other during last night’s strong winds.

Some of the monkeys are staying in their shelter to keep warm. They’re also less likely to leave their shelters for food or play with each other as usual.

Lop Buri Disaster prevention and mitigation says that the temperature in the province quickly dropped by 1-5 degrees Celsius, with a low of 16 degrees this morning. The officials advise people to keep warm and monitor their health conditions to prevent illnesses that are more likely with cold weather such as the flu, asthma and and hay fever. Children and the elderly people should be under special care.

SOURCE: Thairath Online

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