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Narathiwat residents affected by fireworks blast suing warehouse owners


Residents who lost their homes in a fatal explosion at a fireworks warehouse in the southern province of Narathiwat plan to sue. Twelve people died and 389 were injured in the July 29 blast in the sub-district of Muno, in the Sungai Kolok district, right near the Malysian border.

A total of a staggering 682 homes were damaged or totally destroyed, along with 3 schools. Some 25 affected homeowners now plan to file a civil lawsuit against the owners of the illegal fireworks warehouse, 42 year old Sompong Nakul, and his 42 year old wife, Piyanuch Puengwirawat.

They have been in custody since their arrest on August 6, facing charges of negligence causing deaths, importing and/or selling fireworks without a permit and violating the South’s Emergency Decree.

Soldiers, local volunteers, and administrative officials are carrying out repair work on houses at least 50% damaged, according to the Bangkok Post. The Narathiwat Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office says over 300 houses have been repaired to date and 95 destroyed houses are yet to be rebuilt.

One home owner, named in the report as Nifairus Samankunwong, says he insured his property after serious flooding in the area 3 years ago, but the insurance company is now refusing to cover the total cost of the damages.

“My house is worth 4.5 million baht, but the maximum I will receive from the insurance company is 2.9 million baht, while the government offers maximum compensation at 230,000 baht per house. But I may get less compensation from the government because they want to allocate some money to those who do not have house insurance. I did not cause the damage and what happened to me is not fair.”

The Bangkok Post reports that total compensation being offered to affected villagers is less than 30% of the value of their properties. Those who are still waiting for their homes to be repaired have to rent temporary rooms, with the Narathiwat Social Development Department providing 85 families with 3,000 baht a month to pay the rent.

The department says the rebuilding of homes in the area will take around a year to complete.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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