Earthquakes in Thailand: Buildings damaged but no casualties

29.06.2023
Earthquakes in Thailand: Buildings damaged but no casualties

Magnitude 4.5 earthquake hit Phitsanulok

Local media reported that strong tremors were felt in the Pailom sub-district, Bang Krathum district in Phitsanulok on Wednesday at 12.17 am.

Later, at 12:37 pm, the Earthquake Monitoring Division of the Thailand Meteorological Department issued an official statement saying that a 4.5 magnitude earthquake occurred at 16.558 degrees north latitude and 100.368 degrees east longitude. The epicenter was located in the Pailom subdistrict and lay at a depth of five kilometers. The quake was also felt in Phichit and Kamphaeng Phet, the department added.

There were no reports of injury or death, but some buildings were damaged by the quake, among them the more than 100-year-old Wat Rat Chang Khwan chapel, which was cracked. The temple is located seven kilometers from the epicenter.

One monk at the temple told local media that while sleeping, he thought something heavy had fallen to the floor. Several netizens have also shared their impressions of the earthquake on social media.

The government hastened to reassure the people of Bangkok, frightened aftershocks from underground earthquakes

Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt on Monday reassured city dwellers that high-rise buildings in Bangkok can withstand quake shocks and promised to organize drills and teach Bangkoks about seismic safety.
Chadchart was speaking at a press conference organized by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) on Monday (June 19) in response to a magnitude 6.0 earthquake recorded off the southern coast of Myanmar earlier this morning. Tremors were felt by residents of several districts of Bangkok.

The heads of Chatuchak, Bang Rak, Khlong Thei, Lat Phrao, Bang Khen, Lak Si, Huai Khwang, Bang Phlat, Bang Khun Thian and Nong Khem districts said that vibrations were felt in their districts, but high-rise buildings were not affected.

"Bangkok City Administration (BMA) and research teams from several institutions have prepared for such an event," Chadchart said, adding that the city installed a seismic intensity meter on the 36th floor of City Hall 2 in Din Daeng district to test the effects of earthquakes in the city. areas.

Bangkok Deputy Governor Wisanu Subsompon, who joined Chadchart at a press event on Monday, said a seismic intensity meter on the top floor of City Hall 2 peaked at 3.5 milliroentgens during the quake, higher than the average recorded at foundation level in 1-2 milliroentgens. The meter reading on the 4th floor of the Chulalongkorn University Civil Engineering Building was 1.5 milliroentgens, he added.

"Buildings built before the 2007 Building Control Act went into effect are capable of withstanding seismic loads of up to 50 milliroentgens at the foundation level and 150 milliroentgens at the top," he said. "Meanwhile, buildings built after the entry into force of the law must comply with regulations that require the ability to withstand a seismic load of 100 milliroentgens at the foundation level and 500 milliroentgens at the top."

Visanu said city officials sent officials to check skyscrapers in Bangkok after the shock was reported and found no damage. He then concluded that Monday's quake was weak and could be felt by people, but not strong enough to cause damage to buildings. Visanu added that the city is considering installing more seismic intensity meters in Bangkok's public buildings to get more accurate readings in various areas of the city during earthquakes.

Earthquake drills have the same priority and importance as fire and chemical spill drills

Deputy Governor Tawida Kamolwej said that in its disaster prevention and mitigation plan, the BMA puts earthquakes on par with fires and chemical leaks, and will continue to periodically inspect building structures in urban areas to ensure they comply with laws and regulations. safety rules.

“Earthquakes cannot be predicted, so we must prepare by installing measuring instruments and creating a public alert system,” she said, adding that the BMA currently uses Line Alert platforms for disaster prevention and mitigation, which can also warn of the level PM2.5 air pollution. Tavida added that other measures to keep the public safe during earthquakes are educating the public about what to do and what not to do during an earthquake, as well as periodically conducting exercises both indoors and outdoors.

"Although Bangkok is located in an area with minimal risk of earthquakes, this knowledge can be useful to Bangkok residents when traveling to other areas with a higher risk," she added.

At the end of the press conference, Chadchart assured those in attendance that the city's high-rise buildings were designed and built to safety standards by experienced engineers, and that their foundations must also meet legal standards to withstand any disaster.

"Typically, modern buildings, as well as residential buildings, can withstand a certain level of earthquake if they meet legal standards for structural strength and flexibility," the governor said. "High-rise buildings are subject to even more stringent standards to ensure the safety of large numbers of residents and to keep the building functional in the event of a disaster." Public facilities such as hospitals and fire stations also comply with these regulations."

There is no serious earthquake threat in Thailand from the large Sagaing fault in Myanmar

Oranuch Lorpensri, director general of the department, said the Sagaing Fault in Myanmar is still active and could release enough energy to trigger an earthquake of up to magnitude 7.5 in about 5 to 10 years.

On June 19, a magnitude 5.6 earthquake triggered by the Sagaing Fault struck off the southern coast of Myanmar. The epicenter of the earthquake was located about 88 kilometers southeast of Pyapon in the Ayeyarwady region of Myanmar, at a depth of 4.5 kilometers.

The quake was felt in many parts of Thailand, prompting the Department to consult with a number of government agencies, including the Meteorological Department, the Department of Public Works and Urban Development of the Ministry of the Interior, to discuss the possible impact of earthquakes in Myanmar on Thailand.

After the discussion, Oranuch said that future earthquakes caused by the Sagaing Fault could only lead to small fractures or destruction of the cement walls in Bangkok, without seriously affecting the structure of large buildings.

She explained that most of the large buildings in Bangkok were built using earthquake-resistant structures in accordance with the regulations of the Ministry of the Interior.

In addition to the Sagaing fault in Myanmar, there are 15 active faults in Thailand that can trigger earthquakes of varying intensity, according to the Department of Mineral Resources.

Author of the article: Ekaterina Antonova