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North East

Usable water level in Khon Kaen’s main dam dangerously low

Thaiger

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One of the north-east’s largest dams is running dry. And the dry season has just begun.

About a year ago, Khon Kaen irrigation officials were discharging excess water through Ubol Ratana Dam (pronounced Ubonrat) to increase reservoir capacity to ease flood problems in Thailand’s northeastern province of Khon Kaen.

Now, the same officials are urging people in the province to use water sparingly and farmers to suspend second-crop cultivation and to turn to crops which require less water.

The director of irrigation and maintenance, Songvuth Kitvoravuth, at the Nong Wai project says the rate of water entering Ubol Ratana reservoir has dropped by 25% since August 2018. There are now an estimated 700 million cubic metres left, with only 125 million cubic metres actually available for use because the balance of 575 million cubic meters must be retained for emergency and other purposes.

Officials have also been told to stop providing mobile water pumps to help irrigate farmland in order to conserve water.

The Meteorological Department says that the average temperatures in northern Thailand, including the north-eastern region, will reach about 40C this summer.

Meanwhile, the Khon Kaen provincial administration is seeking cooperation from people in the province to switch off their air conditioners every Friday from 7 pm-8 pm to save energy.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

 

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North East

Buriram sets deadlines for vaccine sign-up, imposes penalties

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Buriram, home of Phanom Rung Historical Park, is the first province in Thailand to impose penalties for not vaccinating. (via PublicDomainPictures.net)

Buriram is pushing hard to get everyone signed up for Covid-19 vaccination and plan on penalties for any at-risk people who refuse the vaccine. The Issan province in Northeast Thailand bordering Cambodia is now the first province in the country to impose punishments for refusal to vaccinate. The government has been strongly urging everyone living or working in Buriram over the age of 18 to comply and apply for vaccinations by the end of this month.

The governor has asked all residents to complete a Covid-19 risk assessment form along with their application. And to show he means business, the Buriram government has levied penalties 10,000 baht fine and the possibility of 1 month in prison for those who fail to meet the May 31 deadline.

Several different avenues have been created to try to get the local population signed up for vaccination. Online registration has been launched and – for those that are not glued to their phones or computers – hospitals, health clinics, and other health offices are open and accepting walk-in applications. Public health volunteers are also canvassing neighbourhoods going door-to-door to sign people up.

The Disease Control Department is monitoring all applications along with local health officials. Any application found to be at high risk for Covid-19 infection will be given a specific vaccination appointment right away. They will be assigned a specific location, date, and time to receive their jabs.

The Buriram government is serious about getting everyone at risk vaccinated right away, and aside from the 10,000 baht in penalties and threat of 30 days in prison for not applying for inoculation, harsher punishment will be enforced for those who are determined to be at risk and refuse to be vaccinated.

Those who refuse could receive a maximum sentence of 2 years in prison and a fine of up to 60,000 baht. The current Emergency Decree for Covid-19 allows for up to 40,000 baht in fines, while the Communicable Diseases Act imposes another 20,000 baht punishment. Buriram officials intend to enforce these penalties to convince at-risk people to be vaccinated and curb the spread of Covid-19 in the province.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Thailand

American leaves hospital after being denied Covid treatment in same room as Thai wife

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Photo via The Pattaya News

An American man, who tested positive for Covid-19, is back in the hospital after fleeing when he was denied a shared room with this Thai wife-who was also undergoing Covid treatment. The 51 year old man left the northeastern Amnat Charoen province Chanuman hospital on May 9th after doctors declined to move his bed to that of his wife’s room. The man angrily went home without permission.

He was spotted walking on the road by local residents before being found by police at his home. The medical team convinced him to return to the hospital. But the incident has invoked stress among locals as they fear he could have spread the virus when he left the hospital. Thai social media was flooded with angry posts about the incident, with some calling for his arrest or deportation. In response, the Chanuman district chief has announced they will tighten security at the hospital to prevent any future incidents that are similar in nature.

The man’s name was not given, due to his Covid-19 status, and it has not been announced whether he will face any consequences after his actions.

Meanwhile, Thailand is reporting 1,630 new Covid-19 cases and 22 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours. There are now 29,376 active Covid-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 85,005 Covid-19 cases and 421 Covid-related deaths.

Out of the 22 deaths, most of the patients had chronic illnesses. Many contracted the virus from family members or close friends.

Most of the new cases were detected in Bangkok, particularly in districts with crowded communities and markets. While cases in Bangkok continue to be high, CCSA spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun says the number of new cases in most other provinces in Thailand is decreasing.

Health officials are rolling out proactive case finding campaigns in several high-risk communities, testing 9,000 to 10,000 per day, Nopakun says, adding that officials are working to provide the appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

Those who test positive for Covid-19 and are asymptomatic must stay at an official field hospital for 14 days and then self-isolate at home for another 14 days.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Crime

Monk suspected of running off with 70,000 baht in donations

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Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

A 64 year old monk in the Isaan province Buri Ram is suspected of running off with 70,000 baht in donations made to the temple. The monk, as well as the thousands of baht in cash, have been missing for the past week.

The abbot of a temple in the Nangrong district had made a request with the temple committee one morning before he went off for his daily routine. He had asked to withdraw the money to pay workers to build a new crematorium. On April 28, the monk received 70,000 baht in donations and then told the committee he had to visit a doctor at a local hospital. The monk left the temple grounds, allegedly taking the donation money with him. No one has seen the monk since he left the temple.

In a separate case, 3 Buddhist nuns at a meditation centre in the Isaan region were arrested for allegedly scamming more than 400 people, promising high returns for those who invested in a fund for the poor. Victims of the alleged scam claim the nuns took off with a total of around 10 million baht.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

 

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