Overview of the Incident
On July 29th, a devastating explosion occurred at a fireworks warehouse in Sungai Kolok district’s tambon Muno, Narathiwat province. The blast tragically claimed 12 lives and left 389 people injured. In addition to the human toll, the explosion destroyed three schools and caused significant damage to 682 homes in Muno village.
Relief Efforts and House Repairs
Following the disaster, soldiers, local volunteers, administrative officials, and authorities from various related agencies were deployed to assist the victims and repair the damaged houses. According to the Narathiwat Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office, about 302 houses have been repaired so far. However, 95 houses that were completely destroyed still await reconstruction.
Civil Lawsuit Against Warehouse Owners
A group of 25 Muno villagers, whose houses were destroyed in the explosion, are planning to file a civil lawsuit against the warehouse owners, Sompong Nakul (42) and his wife, Piyanuch Puengwirawat (42). The couple was arrested on August 6th and charged with negligence causing deaths, importing and/or selling fireworks without a permit, and violating the Emergency Decree for the Southern region.
Insurance and Government Compensation Issues
One of the affected house owners, Nifairus Samankunwong, expressed his frustration with the insurance company and the government’s compensation. He had insured his house after a flood three years ago for 4.5 million baht, but the insurance company is only willing to pay 2.9 million baht. The government offers a maximum compensation of 230,000 baht per house, but Nifairus might receive even less, as authorities want to allocate some money to those without house insurance. He said, “I did not cause the damage and what happened to me is not fair.”
A source revealed that the overall compensation provided to Muno villagers impacted by the incident is less than 30% of their property values.
Temporary Housing and Assistance
For the villagers whose houses have not yet been repaired, temporary rooms have been rented for shelter. The provincial Social Development Department provides 3,000 baht per month to 85 families to help cover the rent. The department estimates that it will take approximately a year to rebuild all the houses in the area.
Ongoing Struggles and the Path Forward
As the Muno villagers continue to cope with the aftermath of this tragic event, the civil lawsuit against the warehouse owners and the ongoing issues with insurance and government compensation add to their burdens. With many still in temporary housing and a long road ahead for rebuilding, the people of Muno seek justice and fair compensation for the losses they have suffered.