Medical emergency response teams will inspect the structures of 14 hospital buildings in areas that felt tremors from an earthquake in Myanmar on Friday, according to the Ministry of Public Health.
The quake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale struck on Friday morning. The epicentre was located 76 kilometres southwest of Kengtung in Shan State, or about 100 kilometres northwest of Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai.
The quake was felt in some northern and northeastern provinces, as well as some areas in Bangkok.
Sura Wisetsak, head of the Department of Health Service Support, has ordered teams from regional health service support centres to conduct building inspections at 11 hospitals that reported damage in Chiang Rai, two in Chiang Mai and one in the northeastern province of Sakon Nakhon.
The teams consist of biomedical engineers and civil engineers, with their main mission being to inspect any damage to the building interior caused by the quake. They will assess damage risks and provide recovery support while keeping an eye on any additional aftershocks, said Dr Sura.
Arkhom Praditsuwan, the department’s deputy chief, said its design and construction division had ordered all ministry hospitals located on fault lines throughout the country to review and improve their building structures as necessary to ensure stability in the event of future earthquakes.
It also ordered the hospitals to use shock-proof technology for any new buildings, in line with the 2007 Building Control Act, added Dr Arkhom.
Meanwhile, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation reported that the Friday quake injured one person in Chiang Rai.
The quake affected people in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Nan and Sakon Nakhon, it said, adding that its personnel were providing help to people in those areas while inspecting the damage.
Apart from one injured person, seven out of 18 districts in Chiang Rai reported minor damage caused by the tremors, with six hospitals, three houses and one municipal office building reported to be in need of repair.
Sakon Nakhon Hospital on Saturday ordered the closure of its accident and emergency building for three weeks after cracks were found in the walls of the nine-storey structure. The quake was reportedly felt on the eighth and ninth floors of the building.
Thanet Veerasiri, president of the Engineering Institute of Thailand (EIT), led a team of engineers to inspect the building on Saturday.
An initial survey found that the main structure of the hospital building did not have any cracks. Most of the cracks that occurred in the walls were not caused by shaking. They also used a high-resolution camera to check for signs of subsidence and did not detect any.
Measurement instruments have been installed on the ninth floor and the roof to collect more data for the next 2-3 weeks to determine whether any aftershocks occur.
In Nan, some cracks were seen on the chapel ceiling and a main Buddha statue at Wat Phumin, a famous tourist attraction in the northeastern province.
Sakon Nakhon Hospital on Saturday ordered the closure of its accident and emergency building for three weeks after some cracks were found in the walls of the nine-storey structure. Engineers say (Photo: Sakon Nakhon PRD Facebook)