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Koh Chang landslide blamed on resort expansion

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Heavy rainfall was not the only cause of the land- and mud-slides that have ravaged parts of Koh Chang, authorities say. 

Mud slides and heavy flooding on the tourist resort island of Koh Chang left this local town covered in mud and debris. JAKKRIT WAEWKRAIHONG

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Man, not nature, the real culprit 

The landslide and mudslide that ravaged Koh Chang on Monday have been blamed on heavy downpours, but authorities say the real culprit is man.

Adichart Surinkam, chief of the Department of Mineral Resource’s environmental geology division, said the Koh Chang landslide was caused by a resort expansion.  Workers removed soil from the area which reduced the capacity of the remaining soil to absorb rainwater.

Mr Adichart warned developers to approach construction projects in mudslide-prone areas on the western part of Koh Chang with great caution.

‘‘This part of Koh Chang has been listed as a landslide-risk zone as it has a very steep slope,’’ he said.

‘‘Therefore, any construction projects must be conducted with extreme caution.’’

Mr Adichart said the landslide risk was not confined to Ko Chang. He said 20 landslides had been reported nationwide this year.

‘‘Most cases happened because of man-made activities.”

Meanwhile, workers have been racing against time to repair about 20 high-voltage power poles since heavy rains hit the holiday island from Sunday night to early Monday.

Koh Chang officials said the island would suffer a blackout for a few more days.

Flood relief officials and rescue volunteers have worked around the clock to clear the mud. Only one lane of the coast road was passable yesterday.

Kampon Charoenkajornkul, a business operator on the island and head of the rescue team, said some sections of the road were badly damaged by the landslides.

The economy of Ko Chang, a tourist island, will be badly affected. Yesterday, tourists were seen leaving the island. Local police and hotels arranged minibuses to take them to a pier where they could arrange a shuttle boat to the mainland.
Adapted from a story in today's Bangkok Post by Apinya Wipatayotin and Jakkrit Waewkraihong.

debris – broken pieces that are left when something large has been destroyed  เศษ ซากปรักหักพัง  ซากสิ่งของที่ถูกทำลาย
culprit – someone who has done something wrong ผู้กระทำความผิด
landslide – a large amount of earth, mud (a mudslide) or rocks falling down the side of a mountain or hill landslide  แผ่นดินถล่ม
mudslide – a large amount of mud falling down the side of a mountain or hill a large amount of wet earth that falls down a hill and may cause damage and kill people ทะเลโคลนที่มาจากภูเขาทำลายบ้านเรือนและผู้คน
ravage – to destroy something or damage it very badly ทำให้เสียหาย, ทำลาย, ล้างผลาญ
downpour –a lot of rain in a short time ฝนตกหนักมาก, พายุฝน
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
expansion – when something increases in size, number or importance การขยายออก
soil – the substance on the surface of the Earth in which plants grow ดิน
capacity – the total amount or number that can be contained ปริมาณสูงสุดที่จะรับได้
absorb – to take in a liquid, gas or other substance form the surface or space around ซึมซับ ดูดกลืน
-prone – (suffix) likely to experience a particular problem more often than is usual ที่มีแนวโน้ม
caution – careful thought and lack of hurry in order to try to avoid risks or danger ความระมัดระวัง
risk – the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen ความเสี่ยง
zone – an area that has an important or typical feature; an area where a particular activity is allowed or not allowed พื้นที่, บริเวณ, เขต
steep slope – the side of a hill or mountain that rises quickly and is hard to climb ทางลาดชัน
conduct – to do something in an organised way; to carry out — ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
extreme – very great in degree ที่สุด
confined – limited จำกัดในวง ในกลุ่ม
repair – to fix something that is broken or damaged ซ่อมบำรุง
blackout – a loss of electrical power ไฟดับ
relief – help; assistance การช่วยให้พ้นภัย
rescue – to save someone form a dangerous or unpleasant situation ช่วยชีวิต
volunteer – someone who is not paid for the work that they do อาสาสมัคร
work around the clock – to work without stopping throughout the whole day and night
coast – an area of land beside the sea ชายฝั่ง
passable – of a road or path that can be travelled  ซึ่งผ่านไปได้
pier – a platform sticking out into water which people walk along or use when getting onto or off boats สะพานที่ยื่นออกไปในน้ำ
shuttle – to take people frequently between two places; to travel frequently between two places ส่งไปส่งมา
mainland – a large mass of land that forms the main part of a country but does not include any islands belonging to the country  แผ่นดินใหญ่

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