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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

161 killed during Songkran festival celebration in Thailand

Songkran Festival or the Thai traditional New Year is considered the longest, happiest and fun-filled festival in the country. However, it is also considered the most dangerous.

There have been a series of reported accidents due to drunk driving and speeding. At least 161 have been killed and 1,604 others were injured.

Two days ago alone, 59 people were killed and 747 injured in 689 accidents just on the third day of the "seven dangerous days" (April 11-17) of the festival.

According to Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, the figures brought the number of people killed and injured in the first three days to 161 and 1,640 respectively in 1,539 accidents.

Most of the accidents were caused by drunk driving (42.38 per cent), followed by speeding (23.95 per cent).

It said vehicles involved in most road mishaps are motorcycles (76.35 per cent), and pickup trucks (14.81 per cent). 

Songkran is like Holi, but instead of colours, the Thais use talcum powder mixed in water with ice in it. They also ushered in the New Year today, according to the Thai lunar calendar. 

The festival has forced the Thais to set aside their pro and anti government stance and come together, heralding the arrival of spring.

Thailand has been in political turmoil since anti-government protests began in November. The protesters accuse Yingluck of acting as a proxy for her fugitive brother, former premier Thaksin, who was ousted in a coup in 2006.



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