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“Unrealistic and very risky.” Academic warns about cave rescue.

The Thaiger & The Nation

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“Unrealistic and very risky.” Academic warns about cave rescue. | The Thaiger
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By Pratch Rujianrom

Associate Professor Ariya Aruninta from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok is warning that the focus on evacuating the trapped 13 by drying the cave was unrealistic and very risky.

Draining water out of the Tham Luang cave is an impossible mission, she claims, even as the rescue operation makes headway and pumping water from the flooded cave has been considered the most important challenge to rescue the trapped footballers.

Aria says it’s impractical to control the inflow of water into the cave system or effectively pump the water out, especially during the rainy season. Ariya pointed out that it was not just the floodwater inside the Tham Luang cave system that the rescue team is dealing with, but the entire subterranean aquifer system of the whole mountain range.

“The mission’s water-draining capacity cannot match the enormous volume of water flowing from the mountain during the rainy season,” she said.

“The rescue team has already faced a difficult situation. The rainy season has just started and the rainy weather will unleash its full power during the four-month period from now.”

She explained that the Tham Luang cave is a part of a limestone mountain ecosystem and when it is raining on the mountain, the water will be absorbed into the subterranean aquifer system through infiltration and later spring out as streams and rivers. She emphasised that the cave is also part of a vast underground water system. She said the plan to evacuate the footballers out of the cave by teaching them to dive through the submerged cave was a very dangerous idea, because the water level in the cave can rise very rapidly without warning from heavy downpours on the mountain above.

Ariya suggested that instead of fighting a hopeless battle against nature, the rescue team should focus on finding safer methods to get the team out.

Meanwhile, Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said the water drainage operation was the most crucial task before the rescue team at this moment, as the lower the floodwater in the cave the higher the chance to get the stranded footballers out of the cave safely.

“We are now focusing on continuing the well-organised water drainage operation, and at least maintain the current water drainage capacity in order to prepare for more rain,” Narongsak said.

“So far the operation to reduce floodwater inside the cave has been satisfying, as the water level is slowly but continuously receding at around one centimetre per hour.”

Maj-General Chalongchai Chaiyakham, the deputy commander of the 3rd Army, also disclosed that the rescue team had successfully drained up to 128 million litres of water out of the cave system. Chalongchai said the effort to lower the water level in the cave by pumping out groundwater in the area had already removed up to 350,000 litres per hour from the subterranean aquifer system.

Additionally, two streams to the South and the North of Doi Nang Non Mountain, Haui Makaeng and Huai Nam Dan, were also diverted through the cooperation of the local people and related agencies, as per the suggestion of Thailand’s prominent geologist Chaiporn Siripornpibul in order to curb the water inflow to the cave system through many stream sinks along these streams.

Chaiporn, who went to Chiang Rai to examine the streams, said according to his estimates up to 70 per cent of the water in these streams flow into the cave system through many cracks and sinkholes along the natural course of the streams, so he proposed the construction of weirs over these streams to stop the water flowing into these stream sinks.

“The water diversion at Huai Nam Dan is very successful, as we can divert up to 50 per cent of the water inflow or 13,000 cubic metres of water through the stream sinks,” he said.

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STORY: The Nation

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Air Pollution

PM to tackle Northern Thailand’s seasonal haze… again

Caitlin Ashworth

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PM to tackle Northern Thailand’s seasonal haze… again | The Thaiger
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The Thai prime minister says he’s working on a plan to tackle Northern Thailand’s seasonal haze problem by cutting back manmade bushfires known to largely contribute to the air pollution. The issue has been broadly covered in Thai and foreign media for years, and been followed up with ministerial visits, promises, and little else.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke with governors of 17 northern provinces affected by seasonal haze, saying that he plans to supply villagers and local organisations with equipment, but reports did not go into much detail about what tools locals would get. He says authorities and state agencies need to step in to help combat the haze problem, suggesting that provincial governors head the local fight against wildfires.

“It’s important to eradicate the root cause of wildfires that result from villagers’ way of life… Even more farming space should be provided to farmers who need it to protect natural resources from being destroyed.”

Prayut added that it’s important for state agencies to collaborate on the firefighting effort and said members of the public can help raise awareness about wildfires.

The annual haze/smoke/air pollution problem is not just a Thai issue with the neighbouring countries, particularly Myanmar, causing their fair share of the illegal plantation fires, as shown in sharp detail in the satellite images.

Read The Thaiger’s take on the annual ‘smoke’ problem HERE.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Chiang Rai

2 Burmese nationals arrested while crossing river into Thailand

Maya Taylor

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2 Burmese nationals arrested while crossing river into Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.orientalescape.com

Border forces have arrested 2 Burmese nationals as they were crossing a river in the northern province of Chiang Rai in an attempt to enter Thailand. There has been an increase in security patrols along the border with Myanmar in recent weeks, as the country experiences a spike in Covid-19 cases. There have been reports of Burmese nationals attempting to enter Thailand without submitting to any of the Covid-19 measures currently in place, including testing and mandatory quarantine.

The latest arrests are of a 20 year old man named only as Saiunkaew, and 30 year old Sailu. Both men were detained while crossing the Mae Sai river, in the Koh Chang sub-district of Chiang Rai.

2 Burmese nationals arrested while crossing river into Thailand | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Saiunkaew says he travelled from Myanmar’s Shan state and claims he was on his way to study at Chiang Mai’s Mahachulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya University. He says he paid 4,000 baht to an agency in his home country to facilitate his border crossing. Sailu says he was hoping to find work in Thailand, adding that he paid 17,400 baht to Burmese border officials in order to allow him cross. Both men are now being processed by Chiang Rai Immigration, after which they will be deported to Myanmar.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Crime

Immigration announce the arrest of 18 Chinese illegal migrants in Chiang Rai

Jack Burton

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Immigration announce the arrest of 18 Chinese illegal migrants in Chiang Rai | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: 77kaoded

Immigration officers yesterday announced the arrest of 18 undocumented Chinese immigrants Chiang Rai on August 2, who reportedly attempted to cross the Mekong River from Laos to enter the kingdom illegally. A team of investigating officers from the Chiang Saen Immigration Checkpoint was patrolled the Mekong River area after receiving a tip that a group of unlawful migrants would be smuggled from Ton Pheung District in northwestern Laos via boat.

The 18 were caught as they reached a riverbank behind a restaurant in the Chiang Saen district around 5:50pm August 2. They were brought to Chiang Saen Police Station for an initial interrogation and to arrange a translator, since none of the group any travel documents.

They were initially charged with entering the Kingdom of Thailand without permission and failing to comply with the Disease Control Act, according to an announcement. That order requires that all potential immigrants go through proper channels to enter the country and enter a mandatory 14 day quarantine, amoong other rules and regulations. The commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, told the Thai Associated Press:

“The public health officers did an initial temperature test on all the immigrants and none of them showed a sign of Covid-19 coronavirus infection. The group did not have exposure to the general public as they were caught swiftly.”

“They were detained at the Chiang Saen police station for legal proceedings. Meanwhile, investigators were checking their mobile data and usage of their mobile phones as they might contain useful information regarding people who may have contributed to this trafficking or lead to further investigation.”

Thailand has been cracking down on illegal border crossings and encouraging residents of border towns to report any strangers. Thailand has officially gone 86 days with no confirmed locally transmitted cases of Covid-19, but has identified the danger of illegal immigrants importing the virus from elsewhere as the biggest potential roadblock to staying free of the disease. International borders remain closed for general tourists and only small, select groups of foreigners are currently allowed to enter the country.

It’s unclear why the group were trying to enter Thailand or where they were originally from in China.

Immigration announce the arrest of 18 Chinese illegal migrants in Chiang Rai | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: The Pattaya News | 77kaoded

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