Northern dams unaffected by earthquake


TAK, May 6 – Thailand’s biggest concrete arch dam, the Bhumibol Dam, remains strong following Monday’s 6.3-magnitude earthquake in the northern region which sparked concern among local residents over its anti-earthquake capacity, while the caretaker transport minister today ordered closure of a quake-damaged highway for repairs.

Bhumibol Dam director Pisut Chokekotwat in Tak province reaffirmed that the arch dam has not been affected by the Chiang Rai earthquake in Phan istrict.

He said that the dam was designed to handle earthquakes to up to 7.5 Richter, adding that the dam is also 350 kilometres away from Chiang Rai.

Electricity distribution is operated as normal for local residents around the dam, Pisut said.

Somwang Pansuksan, chief of maintenance staff for the Kwainoi Bamrungdaen Dam in Phitsanulok province, said the dam was not affected by the quake as it was not in the seismic area.

Meanwhile, caretaker Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt today inspected the inspected quake-hit areas this morning and ordered the temporary closure of Highway 118 for repairs due to cracks in some parts of the road.

At Chiang Rai’s Mae Fah Luang Airport, flight services were operating as usual despite some damage of airport windows.

The minister instructed airport officials to prepare for evacuation, while aircraft were asked use remote parking instead of runway parking for passengers’ safety.

Currently, seven districts of Chiang Rai have been declared earthquake disaster zone after province shaken by 6.3-magnitude quake Monday evening.

The seven districts are Phan, Mae Lao, Mae Suai, Wiang Chai, provincial seat, Pa Daet and Phaya Mengrai.