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Locals in a panic as waves of tremors continue rippling through North

SEVERAL WAVES of aftershocks from Monday's 6.3-magnitude earthquake have left villagers in Chiang Rai's Phan district, the epicentre, trembling in fear.

"This was the strongest and worst earthquake in my life," four months pregnant Nam-Oui Somphon said yesterday morning after medical staff at Phan Hospital announced an evacuation.

Patients, their relatives and staff were ordered to exit the hospital and gather at tents deployed at the park beside the outpatient building.

Patients with mild symptoms were told to go home while those with severe symptoms were admitted at the hospital.

The roof of a dormitory inside the hospital had crashed to the ground and its columns had snapped.

The women's patients building was also damaged as well as a new wing.

The Chiang Rung Hotel, located in the middle of the district, suffered a cracked wall.

"I'll spend more than Bt300,000 to repair my hotel," Manas Chanprasit told The Nation.

He would suspend activities at the property for a few weeks to allow agencies to investigate the soundness of the building.

According to the provincial public works and town and country planning offices, the hotel's structure appeared to remain in good condition, but further investigation was needed.

Phanpittayakhom School's main building almost collapsed as its main structure broke apart.

The school's director Sanong Sucharit said this building cannot be used in the future as it would be dangerous for everyone. He might ask the Education Ministry to provide more budget to construct a new building.

The tremor was a nightmare for Kittiphat Veeranonburaphat, a local villager in Mae Lao district whose house toppled over and inflicted a huge loss on him.

He had just borrowed Bt2 million from a bank to build the house. It needed only four more months to be finished, but his dreams of living in that house were completely destroyed.

"Even though I don't have a house anymore, I will build a new one as long as I'm still alive," he said.




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