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Suffering from violence in deep South never seems to end for some

SINCE THE UNREST erupted in the South about a decade ago, violence has spilled into Upatham Sirichai's businesses no fewer than 40 times.

"But this time, the damage is the biggest ever. The bomb blast has completely brought down my warehouse," Upatham said.

His Sri Samai warehouse in Yala is the largest for consumer products in the deep South. It employs about 1,000 people. "I was completely speechless when I saw my warehouse on fire," he said. "It keeps hitting us again and again."

Two years ago, an explosion also hit his family's warehouse in Narathiwat.

Waraporn Sirichai, also an owner of the warehouse, said she hoped authorities would urgently extend help.

Sutha Sangkul, whose lottery shop was blown away in a recent explosion in Yala, said the frequent attacks had depleted her courage to stay on. "I want to move out of this area," she said. "There are too many attacks to cope with."

Sutha was speaking as her husband remained in hospital with shrapnel wounds.

"We're lucky that we survived. But my husband could have been dead had officials been unable to rush in and save him in time," she said.

Another victim, Daleng Jehbu, said he had driven his family to Yala town on Sunday to do some shopping. "But all of us ended up being injured," he said.

His car was also damaged by the bomb blast.

As the unrest rocked the deep South, all locals had been affected, he said.

"We feel frightened. We feel it's very difficult to live here. No matter where we go, we go with a worried heart," he said.

Orapin sae Phun is not among last weekend's victims but she showed up at the registration of victims to offer them moral support.

"I feel sorry for all victims," she said.

Like Oraphin, Jintana Jarern-thanapat said her heart went out to the victims and hoped the attackers would stop the violence and start real talks. "Don't hurt the innocent."

Suchart Sueksa, a volunteer of Yala municipality, said he had rushed to the scenes of fires and explosions about 100 times during the past decade.

"I feel the situation is getting worse," he said.

Yala Mayor Pongsak Yingchon-charoen said authorities would urgently deliver remedies to victims.


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