Severe storms hammer Uttaradit and Phrae medical facilities

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post

Unexpected severe storms hammered medical facilities in Uttaradit and neighbouring Phrae on May 3, signalling the imminent arrival of the rainy season, according to the Public Health Ministry.

Uttaradit Hospital, located in Mueang district’s city centre, bore the brunt of the storm, with intense wind gusts causing extensive damage, Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin reported yesterday.

Four surgery and internal medical wards experienced shattered windows, resulting in an unconfirmed number of injuries due to broken glass. In addition, the roof of a laboratory partially collapsed.

Somsak confirmed the damage assessment was completed. Building repairs are in progress and anticipated to be concluded within a week.

“All is back to normal now. Soldiers and officials from the Interior Ministry provided an emergency response, completed within two hours of arriving at the scene.”

Despite the storm, the hospital’s operations remained unaffected.

Summer storm

Somsak issued orders for hospitals and medical facilities located in storm-prone provinces to remain vigilant. They were instructed to bolster the strength of windows and doors and liaise with the military, the Interior Ministry and the Provincial Electricity Authority to ensure immediate assistance is available if a storm strikes.

Over in Phrae, the provincial public health office experienced a leaking roof due to storm damage to the control and dentistry rooms. The intense winds also tore off the roof of a nearby Thai traditional medicine station. Song Hospital in Song District is currently evaluating the storm damage and formulating a repair plan.

The storms that swept the northeastern provinces on May 3 had deadly consequences. Three construction workers died in Bung Kan, and another individual perished in Khon Kaen.

In Bung Kan, the workers were taking shelter from the storm near a crane at the construction site of the Friendship 5 project, which connects Bung Kan with Laos. The crane tipped over during the intense storm, crushing the workers. Rescuers spent over an hour retrieving the bodies from beneath the crane.

A hailstorm in Nong Bua Lam Phu uprooted trees, ripped off roofs, and caused widespread power outages in four districts, damaging at least 750 homes. The storm brought down a wall on a resident in Khon Kaen, resulting in instant death.

Elsewhere in the province, downed power lines and a water production station damaged by heavy rain resulted in hours of water supply disruption, reported Bangkok Post.

The Office of the National Water Resources predicts that the extreme heat and summer storms will persist over the upper north and upper northeast until May 9. The weather bureau forecasts the rainy season will start in the third or fourth week of May.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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