An emergency response was ordered from Bangkok as Prime Minister Prayut Chan Ocha was briefed on the incident and the Minister of the Interior, General Anupong Paochinda ordered an evacuation centre established, a Royal kitchen and a full medical response to the incident which has seen local people lose homes and livelihoods. 

At least nine people were reported dead and over 100 seriously injured after a massive fireworks explosion destroyed the trading centre of Muno in Sungai Kolok district of Narathiwat province on Saturday. A police investigation has been opened as Prime Minister Prayut Chan Ocha has ordered a full response by both national and local authorities to the disaster which struck at 3 pm in the afternoon leaving the population traumatised and a key cross-border trading station with Malaysia destroyed.

On Saturday evening, Prime Minister’s Office spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek confirmed that Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha was informed and had ordered a national response being organised through the Ministry of the Interior to assist local people who live in the Muno area of Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat province which was devastated by Saturday afternoon’s explosion which occurred at 3 pm and left homes and businesses destroyed with at least nine people dead and hundreds injured.

On Saturday afternoon, a spokesperson at the Prime Minister’s Office in Bangkok expressed concern at news from the Songkai Kolok district of Narathiwat province where a huge explosion was reported at 3 pm.

It occurred at a warehouse connected with a well-known grocery store and a trading point near the Muno market in the area.

The building where the explosion took place is known as the Weerawat Panit Shop.

Shop and Warehouse in the Muno area or Sungai Kolok district of Narathiwat part of a trading centre with a large cross-border trade with Malaysia

This is reported as a popular and successful centre for purchasing a wide range of supplies in Muno which included, up to this afternoon, a strong cross-border trade in fireworks with regular buyers from Malaysia.

Deputy spokesperson for the Prime Minister, Ms Ratchada Thanadirek, told reporters that General Prayut had been informed of the disaster and was monitoring the situation. 

The latest news from the Southern Province on Saturday evening is that at least nine people have been killed in the explosion and subsequent damage to properties in the Muno area located in Sungai-Kolok, a district with a long border with Malaysia and a population of up to seventy thousand people.

100 people were reported as seriously injured, 14 of them requiring critical care.

Rescue units mobilised by the district chief went through each destroyed or badly damaged building looking for dead or injured victims of the explosion

On Saturday evening, authorities in Bangkok were awaiting further news as rescue workers at the scene went through damaged buildings with reports that some people were still missing. 

The explosion was reported to have taken place at 3 pm and is thought to have been caused by welding within the warehouse of the trading establishment being carried out due to refurbishment.

Narathiwat’s Governor Sanan Phong-aksor, quickly mobilised fire units from the sub-districts of Sungai Kolok to respond to the disaster in association with Mr Anirut Bua-on, the chief of the district. 

‘The fire is now under control. Preliminary investigations suggest that the cause was a technical error during the steel welding process as the building is under construction,’ the governor told reporters from the news agency AFP.

Eyewitness played on a mobile before the roof of the house was blown off and outside became a scene of utter carnage and chaos with a rising death toll

They interviewed a witness at the scene, Seksan Taesen, who experienced the explosion while playing with a smartphone inside the house.

‘Suddenly I heard a loud thunderous noise and my whole house shook,’ the eyewitness reported. ‘Then I saw my roof was wide open. I looked outside and I saw a house collapsing and people lying on the ground everywhere. It was chaos.’

Within minutes of the explosion, it was confirmed that four people had been killed with ninety injured.

At 5.15 pm, the death toll had risen to seven and subsequently rose to nine as rescue workers still carried out their work of investigating the numerous destroyed buildings in Muno.

Initially, the rescue operation was held up because of continuous explosions from the warehouse, some of them of a serious nature and causing subsequent injuries. 

Days after a huge Chiang Mai fireworks explosion

The tragic news from Narathiwat province comes just days after a similar explosion at a fireworks factory in the Doi Saket district of Chiang Mai which many foreigners reported on social media at the time, thinking it was an earthquake as it caused damage and shook many buildings in that district of the northern province.

Subsequently, the Governor of Chiang Mai, Nirat Pongsitthavorn, ordered a full inspection of all fireworks facilities in the province to prevent a recurrence.

Inspectors were ordered to look carefully at safety precautions. 

The explosion on Saturday is reported to have destroyed the Muno Market, which is the most important trading centre facilitating cross-border trade between Malaysia in the Sungai Kolok district of Narathiwat.

The incident comes less than a year after the area suffered devastating flooding at the end of 2022 with the market having just returned to normal. 

Strong response from local and national authorities to the disaster in Sungai Kolok as police open an investigation into the circumstances of the blast

Structures and buildings were destroyed in the explosion including commercial shops and family homes.

In Bangkok, responding to the news, the Ministry of the Interior, under the orders of General Anupong Paochinda, has ordered a reception centre to be set up near the Muno Market in Sungai Kolok to receive evacuees and those made homeless from the disaster.

A Royal kitchen has been established to provide food to people affected by the explosion.

Medical facilities have also been set up including first aid care and the provision of psychiatric services to people who may have suffered trauma from what is reported to have been a massive explosion. 

Reports from the scene suggest that at least 10 buildings were either destroyed or seriously damaged at the trading centre.

The devastating fireworks explosion went off approximately 500 metres from the Muno Market in the district.

Muno Police Station has begun collecting evidence in the matter with an investigation ordered following the extensive loss of life, serious personal injuries and property damage suffered in the disaster which has decimated what was, until Saturday afternoon, a thriving community.

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