Poy Sang Long begins March 27
The colorful Shan or Tai Yai ordination
festival for young novice monks will be held this year on March 27 and
April 3, 2015
The colorful traditional Shan or Tai Yai festival called Poy Sang Long
begins March 27 at Wat Ku Tao behind the Municipal Stadium and at Wat Pa
Pao on Manee Noparat Road from April 4 -6, 2015.
The colorful festival sees young boys, usually between the ages of 7 -14
ordained as novice monks. The three day festival begins with the boys
being feasted by their families before parading to the temple to have
head and eyebrows shaved (to remove all vanity) and anointed with
lustral water. The parade is a vibrant affair with the boys accompanied
by family and friends and musicians giving their support. The second day
sees the boys donning white turbans before parading to the temple with
dancing and drumming from participants.
The final day the boys are dressed in finery with faces powdered and
made up to become “Bejeweled Princes” carried on thrones atop the
shoulders of their male relatives. They will then enter the temple to be
ordained as monks and remain for at least one month as they learn the
pillars of Buddhism.
This colorful festival is a popular event and Manee Nopparat Road is
often extremely crowded during those days so alternate routes are
Thunderstorms bring flooded roads, clean air
Haze filled the skies of Chiang Mai on March
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Late afternoon thunderstorms on Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24
brought localized heavy rains, winds, some flooded roads but cleared the
smoke and smog from Chiang Mai’s skies.
The area around Tha Pae Gate, Chang Klan Road, Charoen Prathet and
Sridonchai Road saw flooded roads during the heavy rains which cleared
after the rain subsided.
Before the rains hit the government had been sending helicopters to
spray water in the air and put out fires in the region along with help
from two Chinook helicopters from Singapore. The Deputy Governor chaired
the working task force to monitor the situation and coordinate
Chiang Dao was particularly bad just before the rains with over 140
hotspots showing on satellite. The government has called on all
government officials at all levels, from the local village leaders to
the Department of National Parks to educate and prosecute those who
start fires. From February 15 to March 20 surveillance showed hotspots
in every district except Sarapee and over 200 hotspots at any one time.
Heavy localized rains are expected to continue through Friday, March 27
which has helped bring pollution levels down to normal.
Thunderstorms have cleared the skies over
Chiang Mai, with light clouds and low pollution levels at PM10 40 on
March 25, 2015.
Rotary Clubs unite to provide water system
Gary Soles of the Rotary Club of Kamloops
(2nd left) instigated the water filtration system for the Ban Pao
Witiyakhan School with the aid of members of Chiang Mai International
Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Thin Thai Ngam.
Rotary Clubs from Chiang Mai and Canada worked together to provide a
water filtration system for the Ban Pao Witiyakhan School, a very well
administered school that supports disadvantaged hill tribe children.
Through the combined efforts of three Rotary Clubs; Rotary Club of
Kamloops West, British Columbia, Canada, Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Thin
Thai Ngam and Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC), this school
will have a working water filtration system. The project became official
at the regular meeting of Chiang Mai International on March 17, 2015
when Gary Soles from the Rotary Club of Kamloops presented 28,000 baht
to CMIRC for disbursement.
Gary Soles from the Rotary Club of Kamloops visits Thailand almost every
year and has become aware of the good work done by Rotarian Hope
Watcharaprecha and her club, The Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Thin Thai
Ngam. He mentioned that his club was looking for a project to support.
She recommended the Ban Pao Witiyakhan School. In conjunction with the
Chiang Mai International Rotary club due diligence was conducted and it
was decided to proceed.
Chiang Mai International Rotary Club will contribute the water filter
system. Rotarian Colin Jarvis made the contacts and was able to secure
an Actiwa Swiss water filter system with manual backwash with the help
of a donation from the GOL Iluminado Foundation of Brazil. At the CMIRC
meeting the agreement between the Rotary Clubs and the school was
signed. On the 18th of March the first disbursement was made and the
project works towards completion.
Candle ceremony and fireworks in honor of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 60th birthday
Royal Flora Rajapruek will be holding a
candle light ceremony to honor HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on
her 60th birthday on April 2, 2015. The park will then hold a fireworks
show after the ceremony. This event, which will be free of charge, is
open to all members of the public and will begin at 6 p.m. Other events
include an official government ceremony at Chiang Mai Convention Center
on April 2 at 9 a.m. and events at Tha Pae Gate in the evening.
TAT Chiang Mai opens new office on the river
The new Tourism Authority of Thailand Office
held a grand opening ceremony on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 with
representatives from tourism related organizations around Chiang Mai
dropping in to offer their congratulations. The new building is a chic
modernistic building with traditional Thai touches. Here Utsanee “Aey”
Sripet from Chiang Mai Rock Climbing Adventures offers a congratulatory
bouquet of flowers to TAT Chiang Mai head Wisut Buachum.
Earth Hour to be held March 28 at 8:30 p.m.
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Earth Hour will be held on March 28 from 8:30-9:30pm and the
local officials encourage everyone to take part by turning of their
electrical gadgets and lights for the one hour. In Bangkok key tourist
attractions as well as important roads such as Silom will see their
lights turned off for the hour in a bid to raise awareness of the
importance of reducing energy consumption. Chiang Mai urges citizens to
join in by turning off their lights and save energy by refraining from
Earth Hour is also yearlong competition that calls on cities to reduce
their power consumption in innovative ways, this year three Thai cities
reached the final 44 in the Earth Hour City Challenge; Hat Yai in
Songkhla Province, Khon Kaen municipality and Mapammarit municipality in
Earth Hour started in 2007 as a lights-off event to raise awareness
about climate change and has since grown with more than 162 countries
Over 8,000 people ill from smoke
Public Health Ministry calls on people to wear masks, avoid outside exercise
Over 8,000 people have had their
health affected by smog caused by burning and fires. In Chiang
Mai the PM10 levels reached over 300 on some days. PM10 levels
over 120 are considered unhealthy.
Over 8,000 people in Chiang Mai have been affected by the air
pollution caused by forest fires and burning in the region since
March 2, 2015 the chief of the Chiang Mai Public Health
Department announced recently.
Dr.Paisarn Tanyawinichakul, Chief of the Chiang Mai Health
Department reported that the air pollution levels, which have
reached 24 hour averages as high as 252.61 micrograms of
pollution per cubic meter, have had a massive impact on the
health of residents of all ages. At risk populations such as the
elderly, children, pregnant women and people with allergies have
been affected even more strongly.
Dr. Paisarn said that the pollution can affect people in
different ways including heart disease, cardiovascular disease,
liver infections, myocardial arrhythmia, respiratory illnesses
including upper respiratory tract infections, bronchitis,
pneumonia, allergies and asthma.
The numbers of people so far affected between March 1 and March
11 has reached over 8,000 people.
The Chiang Mai Public Health Department have made public
announcements to alert residents to avoid performing outdoor
activities such as exercise and sports until further notice.
Face masks are required for those who are traveling as well as
glasses, long sleeve shirts and trousers. People at home should
also keep their windows/doors shut as much as possible. For
those who are suffering from the smog, first thing to do is to
wash their mouth and clear their throat with warm water or see a
nearby doctor if it gets serious.
People are encouraged to spray the areas around their homes with
water to keep dust down, use vehicles that are serviced and
switch off their engines immediately after parking and avoid
fires. Residents can follow updates announced by local
authorities, community leaders and public health department
workers. Online pollution numbers can be found at the Pollution
The Thai Meteorological Department has predicted scattered
thundershowers in the North over the weekend and there are hopes
this will help clear the air.
Eight districts receive drought aid
Over 12,000 rai of farmland suffer from drought
Patchtanida Sadudee, head of the
Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department Chiang Mai
announced the eight districts that are receiving aid and four
more who are in the process of review by the government for
Eight districts in Chiang Mai are now suffering under severe
drought and have been receiving aid from the government,
including the delivery of drinking water according to
Patchtanida Sadudee, head of the Disaster Prevention and
Mitigation Department Chiang Mai.
In those districts 169 villages were affected and over 33,280
households were receiving aid. Over 12,000 rai of agricultural
land has been affected and 200 fish ponds. In total, 9,826
people have received aid from the government.
Affected districts were Chiang Dao, Hang Dong, Doi Tao, Doi Loh,
San Kamphaeng, Samoeng, Hod, and Doi Saket. More affected tambon
and districts will be announced but they are in the process of
presenting the issues to Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya and
include three more sub-districts in Samoeng, as well as
Chomthong, San Patong, Mae Chaem, and Galyani Vadhana Districts.
Local authorities have provided drinking water to the areas
concerned and the Ministry of the Interior has given orders to
take measures to solve the problems by repairing the wells and
digging new ones. Recent reports stated that there are over 523
broken wells in Chiang Mai and they are in need of at least
1,538 new ones.
Government brainstorms on smoke solutions
After holding meetings with nine Northern
governors on March 11, 2015 Lt. Gen. Sathit Pittharat and Minister M.L.
Panadda Diskul chaired the opening ceremony to release the water trucks
and helicopters from Wing 41 to spray water into the air.
Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office M.L. Panadda Diskul flew up from
Bangkok to meet with Lt. General Sathit Pittharat Commander of the Royal
Thai Army Region 3, regional governors and deputy governors on March 11,
2015 as the haze crisis deepened across the North.
The government officials also met with organizations that have been
working to fight forest fires and burning in the nine Northern
provinces. Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Lamphun, Phayao, Mae Hong
Son and Chiang Rai are affected annually by smoke and smog caused by
forest fires, agricultural fires and haze. Nearby provinces are expected
to suffer from the haze as it spreads further.
Record highs of PM10 numbers were recorded in Mae Hong Son, which hit
318, Lampang hit 260 and 253 in Chiang Mai in March.
Lt. Gen. Sathit Pittharat said that since the forest fires have been a
problem since 2003, Her Majesty the Queen has been very worried and has
ordered the Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Military forces to
contact organizations involved to help solve the problem. Royal Thai
Army Region 3 has been given the authority to establish a specific
Headquarters of combined forces to control the forest fires and air
pollution since 2007 in Chiang Mai. Since the HQ was established, all
organizations involved have worked together and governors of each
province must often organize brainstorm meetings to tackle the issues
and cooperate with local authorities to stop the fires.
Local authorities and organizations involved must find out what caused
the forest fires in order to prevent it from happening again.The Prime
Minister has also given orders to Army Region 3 to meet with
organizations involved in the 9 Northern provinces. The forest fires and
air pollution has always been a major problem and has affected the
health of residents. The Army has been using all their equipment to ease
the situation, including using t helicopters to fly above and sprinkle
water around the areas as well as using water trucks. Singapore has sent
two Apache Helicopters to help fight forest fires and spray water into
the air to bring down the smoke and dust. The Army Commander has asked
for cooperation from the governors of the 9 northern provinces to
contact the district chiefs and raise the awareness of residents and ask
them to report any potential hotspots to prevent fires from spreading.
Police Region 5 has already agreed to cooperate to support this matter
From investigating and contacting organizations involved, the forest
fires and air pollution had mostly local causes but the government has
also contacted Myanmar to block fires along the border with Chiang Rai.
The government will institute projects to prevent crop burning and fires
in agricultural areas in the near future.
Foundation tackles drunk driving during Songkran
Community efforts to teach people to drive responsibly
The Thai Foundation For Responsible Drinking
has joined forces with the government to tackle Chiang Mai’s high death
toll and accident rate during the “seven dangerous days of Songkran.”
The Thai Foundation For Responsible Drinking has joined forces with the
government and related offices to educate people about the dangers of
drunk driving and to urge people to drive responsibly, especially during
Songkran New Year holiday when Chiang Mai sees huge numbers of accidents
Drunk driving is the number one cause of road accidents and deaths
during the “Seven dangerous days of Songkran” which run from April 11 to
17 every year. The press conference for the annual campaign “Stop
Drinking and Driving” was held at the Park Hotel Chiang Mai with
campaign director Sawalee Kiethipongpan, Deputy Governor Supachai
Iamsuwan, Head of the Chiang Mai Land Transportation Department Chanchai
Keelapaeng, Patchanida Sadudee, Head of the Disaster Prevention and
Mitigation Office, and police.
Sawalee Kiethipongpan said that the Thai Foundation for Responsible
Drinking works in cooperation with local authorities and private sectors
of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phayao to tackle the issues of drinking
and driving in a bid to reduce the number of road accidents during the 7
days of Songkran. This is the 5th consecutive year that the campaign has
been active and the objective is to raise awareness of road users to
drive responsibly. Activities include education campaigns, training
sessions and informational seminars reminding people that the majority
of road accidents are due to drunk drivers.
The Alcohol Rehab Foundation works to have community members and
residents share their opinions and create concrete measures to prevent
people from drinking and driving. From gathering records over the year,
most road accidents have occurred in community sois, therefore, the
campaign is focused to tackle the issues with community members.
Pol. Col. Piyapan Pattanapongsin, Chief of the Chiang Mai Traffic Police
said that the number of road accidents/casualties in Chiang Mai during
Songkran is the highest in Thailand. The police have been told to
strictly enforce drunk driving laws and checkpoints are situated
throughout various areas to stop people from drinking and driving.
The Director of the Chiang Mai Land Transportation Department Chanchai
Keelapaeng said that most people travel back to their hometown during
Songkran to celebrate with their families, both on public and personal
transport and has a high percentage of road accidents. The Land
Transportation Department has organized many projects, which include
vehicle inspections before traveling to improve the safety of vehicles
on the road; they have been working in cooperation with car dealers,
motorbike dealers, engineering schools and vocational schools during
March 10-20, 2015. They also issued standard speed limits, maximum 80 km
per hour for public transport, in which they have signed an MOU with
organizations in the 8 Northern provinces in January 2015.
Flights delayed as pollution levels soar
Respiratory illnesses continue to climb
As pollution levels soar
visibility has decreased for airlines and health problems increase for
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
On Monday, March 16, 2015 several airlines including Bangkok
Airways, Thai Air, and Thai Lion Air were forced to delay, re-route and
cancel flights as pollution levels in Chiang Mai soared. Bangkok Air
diverted some flights to Chiang Rai which had better visibility at the
airport than Chiang Mai International Airport which had less than 800
meters. A Bangkok Airways employee told Chiang Mai Mail that in addition to
airline protocols regarding visibility it was also due to pilot’s discretion
and several pilots felt the landing was too risky and returned to
Suvarnahbhumi International Airport on Monday.
Tuesday saw pollution levels drop enough and visibility clear enough that
most airlines flew normally. The PM10 levels or particulate matter under 10
microns per cubic meter soared to over 400 on Monday dropping to 200 plus on
Tuesday. Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Panadda Diskul, former
Governor of Chiang Mai, vowed on Facebook on Tuesday that the central
government was making the dangerous levels of smoke in the North a major
The government has issued thousands of face masks and local hospitals have
seen the number of respiratory related illnesses grow. Those at risk people
are asked refrain from going outside if at all possible, and to wear masks
at all times.
The government Air Quality Index can be found online here:
According to a recent report issued by the U. S based non-profit
organization Forest Trends, burning in South East Asia continues to grow as
forests are converted to agriculture land. This conversion is the main
reason behind Myanmar’s rapid and massive deforestation which is usually
caused by burning.
Thai Royal Air Force continues to fly to spray water in the air to bring
down smoke and put out fires but as visibility lessens these flights become
Japanese government helps with rehab facility for disabled patients
Japanese Consul General Akihiko Fujii signs
a funding contract with Ms. Achara Chienvichai, Director of the McKean
Rehabilitation Center to provide rehab facilities for disabled patients.
The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human
Security Projects Scheme (GGP), is providing funds amounting to
2,981,300 baht for “the Project for the Improvement of a Rehabilitation
System of Disabled Patients in McKean Rehabilitation Center in Muang
District, Chiang Mai Province”. On 13 March, 2015, Mr. Akihiko Fujii,
Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Ms. Achara Chienvichai,
Director of the McKean Rehabilitation Center, jointly signed the funding
contract at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai.
According to data from the National Statistical Office of Thailand in
2007, there were almost 1.87 million disabled people in Thailand, of
whom 45% were physically disabled. In the same year, the Persons with
Disabilities Empowerment Act 2007 entered into force to form the
framework for a comprehensive institutional model to support disabled
people. However, the present support system is not sufficient. In 2010,
there were only 7 Centers for Independent Living in the whole country,
with the capability to support 1,000 disabled persons.
McKean Rehabilitation Center was originally established as a center for
leprosy sufferers by Dr. James McKean on Kho Klang, an island in the
Ping River. In 1908 the center received government approval as a medical
institution for leprosy sufferers. After specific medicines for leprosy
were developed and the government had improved the care for leprosy
sufferers, the center changed its management policy to provide care not
only for leprosy sufferers but also for physically disabled persons such
as polio patients, multiple Sclerosis patients and those who suffer
accidental injury etc..
The center has provided various kinds of voluntary support for the
independent living of persons with disabilities, such as rehabilitation
to recover physical functions, to develop, produce and provide
prosthetic devices suitable for the disabilities of each person, and
employment support in cooperation with government sectors. These
activities to promote the independent living of persons with
disabilities contributes to improve their quality of life as well as to
reduce the burden on their families. However the center has insufficient
budget to renew aging rehabilitation devices and vehicles because most
of the rehabilitation section’s income comes from donations.
In response to a request from the McKean Rehabilitation Center, the
Government of Japan will bear the costs of purchasing a high-roof type
van with wheelchair elevator and rehabilitation devices. It is expected
that this support will contribute to ensuring the improvement of the
rehabilitation system in the center as well as support for the
independent living of persons with disabilities and the maintenance of
quality of life in the aging society in Chiang Mai City and the nearby
Philippine Honorary Consulate develop educational cooperation with Maejo University
Philippine Honorary Consul
Agkarajit Phanomvan na Ayudhya and Mrs. Linda Khampan, Representative from
the Filipino community in Chiang Mai visited with Asst. Prof. Dr.Chamnian
Yosraj, President of Maejo University to discuss a recent MOU signed to
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Philippine Honorary Consul Agkarajit Phanomvan na Ayudhya and Mrs. Linda
Khampan, Representative from the Filipino community in Chiang Mai, called on
Asst. Prof. Dr.Chamnian Yosraj, President of Maejo University (MJU) to
discuss developing educational cooperation between ten Philippine schools
and Thai schools.
Together with Asst. Prof. Dr. Yongyooth Srigiofun, Acting Vice-President for
International Affairs and Asst. Prof. Dr. Kriangsak Meng-amphan,
Representative of Philippine Alumni at Maejo University, the group discussed
on educational co -operation between the Philippines and MJU. Maejo
University signed a memorandum of understanding to exchange academic and
research information and developments and the exchanges of scholars and
faculties with 10 Philippine institutions including the International Rice
Research Institute (IRRI) and Southeast Asian Committee for Advocacy
(SEACA). Moreover, MJU has 26 members of their faculties who graduated from
Both parties agreed to enhance the development of agriculture and tourism
and to support the activities of the Filipino community in the North and
develop networks in Chiang Mai.
New emergency hotlines for foreigners in Thailand
Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office M.L.
Panadda Diskul announced the new hotlines for foreigners which will have
translators available to take calls. (File Photo)
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Office of the Prime Minister has launched two new hotlines for
international tourists and residents, said Minister M.L. Panadda Diskul
recently. The contact for police complaints will connect people to the
tourist police at 1155. The hotline to connect to other various
government agencies is 1111. Both lines will be open twenty four hours a
day and will have interpreters on hand to handle complaints and issues.
The Minister noted that several agencies already have their own hotlines
but that they often overlap and duplicate work. The new 1111 hotline
will handle all non-Thai residents and visitors complaints, concerns and
issues regardless of the department except, of course for police issues.
Mae Chaem receives funds from Japanese government for new fire truck
Akihiko Fujii, Consul-General of Japan in
Chiang Mai, and Mr. At Somyot, Mayor of Mae Chaem Sub-District
Municipality with the new fire truck for Mae Chaem.
The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human
Security Projects Scheme (GGP), has provided funds amounting to
2,952,000 baht for “The Project for Procurement of a Fire Engine in Mae
Chaem Sub-District Municipality in Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai
Province”. On March 10, 2015, Mr. Akihiko Fujii, Consul-General of Japan
in Chiang Mai, and Mr. At Somyot, Mayor of Mae Chaem Sub-District
Municipality, were present at the hand-over ceremony of the fire engine
at Mae Chaem Sub-District Municipality.
In Mae Chaem District, some 80 percent of the total land area is covered
by forest, much of which is designated as national forest or national
parkland. Every dry-season, forest fires break out and result in serious
health problems from haze and loss of forest acreage. In order to
minimize forest fires and the damage they cause, Mae Chaem Sub-District
Municipality has to engage in the activities of firefighting, disaster
prevention and rescue through volunteer fire corps recruited from among
local residents. The scope of their activities covers the entire area of
Mae Chaem District because they are the only municipality possessing a
fire engine in the whole District while the other sub-district
administration organizations only possess individual water tank trucks.
When a fire breaks out, the Municipality's fire engine and water tank
trucks of the relevant sub-districts need to co-operate to tackle the
fire. However, the old fire engine had become so decrepit after 33 years
of service that it was of limited use in helping the fire corps conduct
expeditious and effective operations.
In response to a request from Mae Chaem Municipality, the Government of
Japan bore the costs of purchasing a large fire engine with a water
tank. It is expected that this support will contribute to ensuring the
security of the residents throughout Mae Chaem District as well as
mitigating smoke haze and aiding conservation of the natural environment
in the north of Thailand. (GGP)
Chiang Mai Night Safari clarifies the death of a 13 year old white rhino
Dr. Sarawut Srisakun, Director of the
Pinkanakorn Development Agency, Director for Animal Management Weerapol
Boonchuduang and Chatree Khutheparak head of the Conservation Veterinary
announced the investigation into the death of a white rhino in February
at the Chiang Mai Night Safari.
Dr. Sarawut Srisakun, Director of the Pinkanakorn Development Agency was
joined by the Director for Animal Management Weerapol Boonchuduang and
Chatree Khutheparak head of the Conservation Veterinary at the Chiang
Mai Night Safari held a press conference to explain the death of a white
rhinoceros at the Night Safari on February 17, 2015.
The 13 year old male was named Roger and veterinarians performing an
exam to find cause of death found a perforation in his stomach which
caused an infection, although the cause of death is not verified it is
possible that an infection like this can affect the gastrointestinal
system. The food found in the rhino’s intestines was dry and hard. There
was also damage to the intestines, and spleen, judging from the amount
of bleeding found.
Veterinarians suspect the rhino may have battled with other rhinos but a
necropsy will be carried out at the Laboratory of Veterinary Science to
determine exact cause of death. The food remaining in the stomach will
be sent to the laboratory at the Institute of Animal Health, Lampang to
check for any toxic substances.
The southern White Rhinoceros has been a conservation success was
considered extinct in the late 19th century when a small pocket was
found to exist in 1895 in South Africa, now they number over 20,000 and
are classified as “Near threatened.”
Army sergeant arrested smuggling drugs in Chiang Dao
Master Sergeant 1st Class Sarawut
Thanarakudonporn was charged with drug trafficking in Chiang Dao on
March 7, 2015 after police found 4,400 methamphetamine pills in his
A master –sergeant in the Royal Thai Army was arrested in Chiang Dao on
March 7, 2015 after police uncovered 4,400 methamphetamine or Yaba pills
hidden in his belongings in his pickup truck.
Police stopped Master Sergeant 1st class Sarawut Thanarakudonporn of the
Third Army, 7th Infantry Division after he acted suspiciously at a
checkpoint set up in Chiang Dao near Khan Pha Thao. Police found 2,000
Yaba pills hidden in a pair of combat boots in the truck and a further
2,400 pills in a bag on the seat.
Police arrested the suspect who confessed that he had purchased the
drugs in Chiang Dao and intended to sell most of it in Lamphun and leave
some for himself.
Earthquake training in Chiang Rai prepares for potential disasters
Volunteers and government officials took
part in drill training including evacuations in preparation for
An earthquake drill and training session was held in Chiang Rai
on March 6, 2015 to prepare officials and related organizations on how
to cope with victims in case of an earthquake disaster.
Deputy Chief of Defense Forces General Wuttinun Leelayudth and Deputy
Director of the Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Anusorn
Kaewkangwal traveled to Chiang Rai to oversee the progress of the drills
and training in the JDMEX 2015 operation.
The training included 7 different organizations; the Military Training
Center, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, the
National Disaster Warning Center and other organizations who help
victims in natural disasters including Rescue Units and Volunteers.
Preparedness and skills of participants were evaluated and trainees took
part in evacuation exercises and how to contact organizations for help.
Chiang Rai was struck by the strongest earthquake to affect Thailand on
May 5, 2014 at Mae Lao, Chiang Rai. The earthquake, which measured at
6.1 with the USGS, caused massive destruction in the area, with over 730
aftershocks, and claimed the lives of 2 victims. The quake affected 7
provinces including Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Phayao, Nan, Phrae, Lampang
and Kampaeng Phet.
In Chiang Rai a total of 7 districts, 47 sub-districts, and 478
communities reported 8,935 damaged locations in total, including 116
homes that were completely destroyed, 8,463 damaged homes, 99 temples, 7
temples, 35 schools, 1 university, 25 hospitals, 6 factories, 1 hotel, 5
roads, and one bridge.
Undocumented Cambodian monks to be deported
Immigration police will be deporting twenty
Cambodian Buddhist monks who entered the country illegally.
Police rounded up a group of undocumented Cambodian monks after
residents in the Baan Bong area reported their presence to police who
were in the area checking for human trafficking and other criminal
activities. The Saraphi villagers told police that a large group of
unknown monks were in the area begging for food in the area.
On March 6, 2015 Pol. Maj. Gen. Bandit Thunkaseranee, Chief of the
Immigration Police Region 5, Pol. Col. Rujpong Sarawaranangkul,
superintendent of the of the Chiang Mai Immigration Police, Pol. Lt.
Col. Udom Suwanleka, deputy superintendent of the Chiang Mai Immigration
Police and a number of other officers and military members visited the
area to patrol where they received a report from residents that a large
group of unidentified Buddhist monks were seen around the community.
Police found a group of 20 Buddhist monks from Cambodia who had entered
the country with no documentation. They told police they had crossed
into Thailand in Sa Kaeo where they met up with other members and
traveled to Chiang Mai to ask residents in the area to make merit.
Police and military members have taken the group of monks to the Chiang
Mai Immigration Office and will deport the Cambodian monks out of the
Haze and smoke set pollution levels soaring
Air Force sends planes to spray water in the air
Haze blankets the city as pollution levels
soar due to forest fires in the area.
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Royal Thai Air Force has sent a BT-67 plane from Wing 46 in
Phitsanulok to support aircraft here in a bid to reduce haze that has
increased in the past few days due, in part, to forest fires on Doi
Suthep and Doi Kham. The aircraft will fly four times a day carrying
3,000 liters of water to spray in a bid to reduce particulate matter in
The Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office has warned about the
increasing pollution levels, asking people to stay indoors, not to
exercise outdoors and wear masks if possible. At risk people, such as
those with asthma and other respiratory ailments are urged to be extra
cautious. Hospitals are gearing up to treat smog related illnesses. The
government will be handing out facemasks to at risk people in outlying
The government reported that there were 101 hot spots found in Chiang
Mai on Sunday, March 8, 2015. Of those twenty six were in Mae Chaem,
followed by Om Koi and Samoeng which each had eleven hotspots.
The Pollution Control Department’s website has been showing unhealthy
levels of pollution. The Thai government has set 120 as being the
minimum safe level while the World Health Organization has set the daily
PM10 levels at 50.
Particulate matter levels in Chiang Mai have been over 150 for several
days The Thai government site has the Air Quality Index at 257 PM10 for
a 24 hour moving average. http://aqmthai.com/index.php?lang=en
Government sprays water in a bid to lessen smog
Government officials have started spraying
water in an attempt to bring down dust and large particles in the air
due to smog.
The Chiang Mai government began spraying water into the air
around the city in an attempt to bring down large particle levels in the
air due to burning in the region. On February 3, 2015 Governor Suriya
Prasatbuntitya chaired the launch of the campaign with Boonlert
Buranupakorn, President of the Chiang Mai Provincial Administration
Organization, representatives from the Office of Disaster Prevention and
Mitigation as well as other government officials.
The government took their cue from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore which
spray water during periods of serious smoke to add moisture to the air,
lower dust and large particle levels.
The government issued a 60 day no burning period from February 15 to
April 15, 2015 in an attempt to bring down annual smog that affects
health, the economy and tourism.
The Governor has asked agencies to cooperate in fighting fires and
called on residents to help by not burning and reporting fires. Chiang
Mai Department of National Parks - 053-276-100. The Office of
Environmental Protection - 053-112-725.
Charity golf tournament raises money for Mor Jao Fa fund
The Charity Golf Tournament organized by the
Faculty of Medicine CMU raised over 3.8 million baht to support the Mor
Jao Fa project.
The Faculty of Medicine at Chiang Mai University held a charity
golf tournament to raise money for the Mor Jao Fa fund at the Royal
Chiang Mai Golf Resort. The Fund donates money for scholarships for
students in the medical field including medicine, dentistry and even
veterinary. The funds go towards supporting the Foundation of Voluntary
The tournament was held on March 1 and chaired by Governor Suriya
There were 68 teams competing for the HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana
Trophy. Thirty six teams played in the morning and 32 in the afternoon.
Teams played in team and individual categories as well as other
The winner in the team category were the Pha Chom Golf Club Sirikit Dam
who won the royal trophy while individual went to Dr. Pracha Panyaprasit
from Chiang Mai Ram Hospital. Many other players and teams won in
The event raised over 3,890,700 Baht and will be supporting the Mor Jao
Fa Funds project according to the wishes of Her Royal Highness Princess
Galayani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarinda.
National Elephant Day is March 13
Elephants will be treated to a feast of sugar cane, bananas and other
treats on National Elephant Day on March 13 at several elephant camps in
Chiang Mai at the Mae Sa Elephant Camp in Mae Rim where the Faculty of
Veterinary Science at Chiang Mai University will be taking part.
Additionally there will be a special blessing ceremony and people will
get the chance to meet the elephants. The day was established in 1998 to
raise awareness of the importance of the elephant in Thailand and to
promote their protection and conservation.
Thailand and China sign agreements to develop four projects
Prof. Dr. Weerapong Paesuwan, the Permanent
Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology Thailand and
Professor Chao Jien Lin, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology of
China signed an agreement to promote the development of four projects in
science, technology and innovation.
The Ministry of Science and Technology Thailand and the People’s
Republic of China signed an agreement on March 2 and 3 at the Lotus Pang
Suan Kaew Hotel to promote four projects in science, technology and
Prof. Dr. Weerapong Paesuwan, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of
Science and Technology Thailand and Professor Chao Jien Lin, Deputy
Minister of Science and Technology of China chaired the committee
meeting and signing.
The two countries are committed to developing cooperation in science and
technology with the Science and Technology Partnership Program (STEP)
and will work on developing cooperation on the Thailand – China Joint
Research Center, the Remote Sensing Satellite Data Service Platform, the
Thailand - China Technology Transfer Center-TCTTC and the Talented Young
Scientist Visiting Program-TYSP. There will also be a 2nd meeting in
Thailand to update the progress of all 4 programs.
Thailand has handed over the project to the Committee Office of National
Science Technology and Innovation and will work to bring about exchange
visits to explore in Thailand and China. Thailand is supporting the
China-ASEAN Science Technology and Innovation Policy Collaboration
Network and the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency
to be the working committee in the Space Technology Application.
The groups involved intend to promote science, technology and innovation
to promote business and the economy.
Mae Moh villagers win case on appeal
EGAT to pay damages to villagers suffering from toxic gas
Mae Moh villagers led by lawyer Teerasak
Chunthot and Maliwan Nakwiroj of the Mae Moh Occupational Health
Patients' Rights Network announce their win against EGAT after a years
long legal battle.
The Supreme Administrative Court in Chiang Mai upheld a lower
court ruling awarding villagers in Mae Moh, Lamphun compensation for
health issues caused by releases of toxic sulphur dioxide fumes from the
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) lignite power plant
in a long running battle that began in 2003.
EGAT appealed the lower court’s ruling in favor of the villagers in 2009
but in a final decision read by Judge Prapoj Klaisuban in which he
stated 24 million baht would be paid by the electric company within 30
days to the 131 plaintiffs, both living and dead. A further 21 million
baht would be paid out in compensation for the court case.
Maliwan Nakwiroj, chairperson of the Mae Moh Occupational Health
Patients' Rights Network and Teerasak Chihunthot, the lawyer for the
villagers, stated that they were satisfied with the outcome of the case.
Villagers will receive between 20,000 baht and 240,000 baht each in
Five districts affected by drought
The head of the Disaster Prevention and
Mitigation Department Pachanitha Sadudee reports on the drought situation in
The head of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department Pachanitha
Sadudee said that five districts in the province are reporting drought
conditions; Mae Rim, Hang Dong, Chiang Dao, Doi Tao and Doi Loh while four
more are reporting effects on agriculture from the dry weather. Those
include Hod, Samoeng, Phrao, and Mae Chaem.
The government set up the Center to Prevent and Aid Drought in October 2014
and now covers all 24 districts and involves the Disaster Prevention and
Mitigation Department Chiang Mai, the Water Supply Department, Military
Circle 33, Wing 41 and many Municipality Offices in the area.
In the five districts affected by drought there are 13 municipalities and
over 18,000 families and 680 rai of farmland. Fish farms are also suffering
due to the drought. The government will request assistance form the Ministry
of the Interior and other organizations to help water supply in the affected
Governor calls emergency meeting as PM10 levels reach 181 in the city
Doi Suthep disappears behind a fog of smoke and
haze as pollution levels in Chiang Mai started climbing at the start of
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya called an emergency meeting of all relevant
government organizations on Tuesday, March 03, 2015 to discuss the soaring
pollution levels in the first few days of March.
As PM10 levels climbed on February 28 and March 1 in part due to forest
fires at Doi Saket and Doi Suthep as well as farmers burning fields around
the region, the Governor called a meeting to discuss ways to tackle fires
and cope with the haze. The Governor noted that analysis of satellite data
showed fires in southern Chiang Mai, as well as winds blowing smoke into
Chiang Mai city, which lies in a basin.
The Chiang Mai Municipality used water trucks to spray water in a bid to
reduce dust in the city on Tuesday as PM10 levels hit 181 at Yupparaj
Wittalayai School and 163 at City Hall.
The Governor has urged members of the public to report fires and promised a
5,000 baht reward for those who turn in people caught setting fires.
Lampang, Phrae and Mae Hong Son also saw unhealthy levels of pollution as
fires in the area cast heavy smoke across the region. Phrae reached 215
micrograms per cubic meter while Mae Moh in Lampang reached 260. The Thai
government sets the safety standard at below 120.
The Northern Royal Rainmaking Operation Center director said that while
there have been no requests for the center to begin rainmaking the humidity
levels, which sit below 30 percent, are too low to operate rainmaking
New expansion plans for Chiang Mai International Airport
Chiang Mai International Airport will be seeing
expansion to cope with the increasing numbers of passengers using the
airport. (File photo by [email protected] commons.)
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Airports of Thailand have announced plans for expanding both domestic
and international terminals as well as adding more parking bays, increasing
baggage handling machinery and adding another parking lot.
In the short term new parking bays are already being added and the domestic
departure hall will be expanded by 400 sqm and the international departure
hall by 350 sqm this year. The new parking lot should hold up to 320
The terminals will be expanded further in 2016 with the domestic departure
hall expanding by 1,600 sqm and the international passenger terminal by
20,000 sqm. The bus gate will be improved and more air bridges as well as
baggage carriers will be added in 2016.
Chiang Mai International Airport has seen a huge increase in income, earning
over 1.2 billion baht in income, a 35 percent increase year on year. The
airport saw a 21 percent increase in passengers in 2014 over the previous
Japanese government helps build center for kids with cerebral palsy
Mr. Akihiko Fujii, Consul-General of Japan in
Chiang Mai, Mr. Jaroon Jittiwutikarn, Chairman of Ruam Mit Foundation for
Youth at the opening ceremony of the Rehabilitation Center of Ruam Mit
Foundation for Youth in Amphur Muang, Chiang Rai on February 26, 2015.
The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human
Security Projects Scheme (GGP), has provided funds amounting to 3,196,100
baht for “The Project for the Rehabilitation of Children with Cerebral Palsy
in Chiang Rai Province”. On February 26, 2015, Mr. Akihiko Fujii,
Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, Mr. Jaroon Jittiwutikarn, Chairman of
Ruam Mit Foundation for Youth were present at the opening ceremony of the
Rehabilitation Center of Ruam Mit Foundation for Youth at the center built
in Amphur Muang, Chiang Rai.
There are almost 16,000 handicapped people registered in Chiang Rai
province, 200 of whom have Cerebral Palsy. Children with Cerebral Palsy are
found much more among poor and highland ethnic group families because of
teenage pregnancy and hard work during pregnancy. In particular, the
handicapped children without citizenship have difficulty in receiving the
protection and rehabilitation affirmed in the human rights charter and lose
their chance for recovery and self-reliance.
The Ruam Mit Foundation for Youth has carried out rehabilitation training
for children with Cerebral Palsy and their parents in cooperation with Mae
Lao and Mae Fah Luang hospitals in Chiang Rai province since 2011. As a
result the children recovered remarkably and regional rehabilitation network
for the children is being created.
In response to a request from Ruam Mit Foundation for Youth, the Government
of Japan provided funds for the construction of a rehabilitation center and
the running of a rehabilitation program for children with Cerebral Palsy by
the Foundation. It is expected that this will enhance support for
handicapped children in Northern Thailand.
The Government of Japan intends to continue supporting projects for
handicapped people through its Grant Assistance for Human Security Projects
scheme (GGP). For more information, please contact the Consulate-General of
Japan in Chiang Mai, Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects
Scheme (GGP). Tel: 053-203-367 / Fax: 053-203-373 / Email:
Chiang Mai Night Safari exchanges animals with the Zoo
Dr. Sarawut Srisakun, acting
director of the Pingkanakorn Development Agency and Kanchanachai Saenwong,
director of Chiang Mai Zoo exchanged animals at the Night Safari on February
The Chiang Mai Night Safari gave three gorals to the Zoological Park
Organization on February 19, 2015 and received three five-color lemurs in
Dr. Sarawut Srisakun, acting director of the Pingkanakorn Development Agency
and Kanchanachai Saenwong, director of Chiang Mai Zoo joined the ceremony to
exchange the animals for conservation and research into breeding. Dr.
Sarawut said that the Night Safari was honored to receive the lemurs from
the Zoological Park Organization and establish a good relationship between
the two organizations. He added that it is a great way to propagate rare
animals for other zoos in Thailand and conserve rare animals.
The five-color lemurs included one 4 year old male lemur named Kinje, one 6
year old female lemur named Ngam and a 5 year, 2 month old female Ngok. The
5-color lemurs are some of the most beautiful and rare animals in the world
and originate from Madagascar. The color of the lemur is dark gray or black
in color, even in places where the fur is white. It is exposed on the nose,
palms, soles, eyelids, lips and its neck has a mixed color. A male lemur has
more fur around its waist on both sides and is bigger than a female. Lemurs
are often together in groups and are found on the top of trees while they
feed themselves during the day. Many lemur species are threatened with
extinction due to habitat loss from illegal logging and hunting. The lemurs
will be looked after by the Bureau of Animal Management. They will also be
available for tourists to see and explore the uniqueness of the animals.
Lampang showing elevated air pollution levels
Chiang Mai air quality still at good to moderate
Lampang has already exceeded acceptable PM10
levels but Chiang Mai still remains at the good to moderate level
according to the latest report on air quality.
The Provincial office of Natural Resources and the Environment
recently revealed the air pollution levels in Northern Thailand
including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Lampang,
Phayao, Phrae, Nan, Tak and Uttaradit during the period from February
Lampang showed the worst air quality with the 24 hour average for PM10
or dust particles under 10 microns reaching 135 micrograms, exceeding
the maximum allowed of 120 micrograms per cubic meter in Lampang. Other
provinces in the North showed good to moderate PM10 levels.
In Chiang Mai the PM10 average reached 89 mcg, the highest for the
period, on February 16 at the reporting station at Yupparaj Wittayalai
School Chiang Mai. The air quality is still good to moderate although
the department predicts the numbers will rise and have recommended that
people stop burning to reduce the smoke problems.
Forest fire hotspots are monitored at the Forest Fire Prevention Office
and between October 1, 2014 and February21, 2015 there were 11,054
hotspots discovered in Thailand. Of those 5,232 hotspots were discovered
in the North East, 3,424 in the North, 2,354 in the Central region and
44 in the South. The majority of those fires, 77.99% were in
agricultural areas while 15.13% were in national forest areas and 7.88%
in forest conservation areas.
Chiang Mai opens new Anti-Corruption Center at City Hall
Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya opened the
new Anti-Corruption Center on February 24, 2015, the new center will
take complaints from people in regards to corruption in the government.
Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya opened the new Anti-Corruption Center at
Chiang City Hall on February 24, 2015 and also signed an agreement to
cooperate on preventing and combatting corruption in the province.
The Governor said that the new center is supported by all organizations
involved to respond to the government policy to prevent and fight
corruption in the government.
The Anti-Corruption Center will serve as a contact center for people who
are taken advantage of by civil servants or employees of any government
agency and will evaluate and monitor each report.
The Governor, the Deputy Governor and heads of government agencies will
discuss important issues brought to the center and pass them on to
district chiefs, community leaders and also individuals in the area to
be clean and not take advantage of citizens.
Japanese Consulate and CMU sign agreement for Japanese Studies Center
Japanese Consul General Akihiko Fujii and
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Niwet Nantajit, President of Chiang Mai University
signed an agreement that the Japanese government will provide funding
for the renovation and improvement of the Japanese Study Center at CMU.
Chiang Mai University signed a memorandum of understanding with the
Japanese Consulate General in Chiang Mai to improve the facilities as
the Japanese Study Center recently. The MOU was signed by Japanese
Consul General Akihiko Fujii and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Niwet Nantajit,
President of Chiang Mai University (CMU).
The project, which will begin implementation on March 2, will provide 3
million baht to improve the facilities of the Japanese Study Center at
CMU. Renovations of existing space will allow for separate rooms for
visiting teachers and students from Japan to study and research. Other
rooms will be repurposed as classrooms, meeting rooms and multipurpose
rooms. Equipment for the rooms will be purchased and fittings for the
rooms as well.
The Japanese government also donated funds for the establishment of the
Center in 2008.
A precious gift; the donation of guitars for students in Chiang Mai
Recently, local resident Heather Crofskey lost her son to cancer and was
naturally devastated by the event. Her late son was a good guitar player and
he had acquired four acoustic guitars with electronic connections. Heather
asked Chiang Mai’s resident musicologist Jean-Pierre if he had any ideas
about using the guitars for the benefit of others in the community and it
was decided to donate three of the instruments to the Santi School of Music.
Heather’s son Grant had attended a number of functions at the school with
his mother so this was a most appropriate arrangement. It was also a
generous gesture by Heather who decided to keep one of the instruments as a
piece of memorabilia as it had been specially engraved. The other three were
handed over to Ajaan Santi Saengthong, the school’s founder and his office
manager Ken over lunch at a local countryside restaurant on Monday February
Chiang Rai woman arrested with Yaba on the bus to Bangkok
Lamphun police arrested a Chiang Rai woman
smuggling drugs in her bag on the bus to Bangkok, the drugs were valued
at over 2 million baht.
Police arrested a 47 year old woman from Chiang Rai with 9,400
methamphetamine tablets in her bag on the bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok
on February 23, 2015.
Lamphun Police had set up a checkpoint and signaled the bus to pull
over. Upon boarding the bus they found Nalipo Sermue acting
suspiciously. They searched her belongings and found 47 bags containing
a total of 9,400 Yaba pills.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Prayat Boonsri, Deputy Commander of Police Region 5 siad
that this was the fourth arrest of drug smugglers at this particular
checkpoint so far this year. He was joined by Pol. Col. Nalichit
Niewkul, deputy commander of Lamphun Police, Charoenrit Sa-nguansat,
Deputy Governor of Lamphun at the press conference to announce the
The suspect confessed to police that she had been paid 20,000 baht to
carry the drugs to Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok. The street value of
the drugs if sold in Bangkok was over 2 million baht.
Thai Red Cross low on blood supplies
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Thai Red Cross launched a nationwide appeal for
blood donations as supplies have reached critically low levels.
Hospitals have been forced to postpone surgeries due to a lack
of supply and the Thai Red Cross has only been able to supply
2000 units of blood daily, far below the basic minimum of 3,000
Blood donors in Chiang Mai can donate at the Thai Red Cross
branch at 369-371 Wichayanon Road, A Muang, Chiang Mai 50300.
Tel: 053 235161, 053 235574. Donations can also be made at
Sriphat Medical Center next to Chiang Mai Maha Nakorn Hospital
or any provincial hospital.