Local governments in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are too underfunded and uncoordinated to deal with the growing number of wildfires across the region according to local volunteers.
An umbrella organization, Council for Chiang Mai Breathing, criticized the local government for underspending and lacking any clear plan for fighting the hundreds of wildfires raging across the north of Thailand.
The organization’s Co-Founder, Chatchawan Thongdeelert, said that different government agencies act “only to protect their own assigned areas from fire.” He continued:
“There is no attempt to integrate efforts to deal with the wildfire…some said this can’t go on and they cannot let the government agencies handle it alone.”
It is likely the wildfires could last until May with 20 out of the 25 districts in Chiang Mai reporting fires so far.
The fires have already claimed the lives of five firefighters and are causing air quality in the region to rank among the worst in the world.
The former Deputy Leader of the now-disbanded Future Forward Party, Chamnan Chanruang, said the government only cares about Bangkok. He said:
“It’s happening in Chiang Mai, not Bangkok. The national government thinks Thailand is just Bangkok. Not only that powers concentrate in Bangkok but Chiang Mai administrators lack powers.”
Local state agencies have been attempting to acquire funds to purchase equipment for more than two years without any success.
Source: Khaosod | Photo: Chiang Mai Citylife