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Wat Rong Khun 'needs Bt150m for repairs'

The builder of Chiang Rai's Wat Rong Khun and well-known artist Chalermchai Kositpipat said repairs to the quake-hit temple would require Bt150 million and three years to complete. The temple was among many places damaged by the May 5 earthquake, which centred in Chiang Rai and was also followed by some 450 after-shocks in the past week.

Chalermchai said various agencies had helped assess the temple structure. They said structural damage was minimal. He said he had received moral support from many people hence he has decided to proceed with repairing Wat Rong Khun on his own initially.

The temple is open for public as usual, except for the under-repair "Buddhawas" living quarters for monks, he said.

Meanwhile, Department of Fine Arts chief Anek Sihamat said he had assigned Office of Architecture director Kittipan Pansuwan to inspect damage to Wat Rong Khun and provide advice on its restoration.

Anek said Wat Phraborommathat in tambon Nakhon Chum in Kamphaeng Phet's Muang district has also been damaged by the quake. An initial inspection found cracks on the temple pagoda's top section. There was also damage to tiles covering the pagoda, hence the department would send an engineer to provide advice on proper restoration.

Following a meeting yesterday of officials regarding damage from the quake, Chiang Rai deputy governor Prajon Prajsakul said that a total of 8,509 homes in seven districts were affected - of these 46 homes were totally destroyed. Another 99 temples, seven churches, 46 schools, one university, 33 state offices, one hotel, six private company offices, four bridges, five roads, two community buildings and one tap water system were also damaged. The residents urgently needed official aid for inspection of structure to ensure their safe return to their buildings, he added.

Chiang Rai public works and town planning official Yanyong Polsantikul said civil engineers from the Engineering Institute of Thailand, the Public Works Association and volunteer engineers had joined local engineers to assist affected residents in assessing damage from the quake and repairing public buildings before repairing residential homes.


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