204 killed during Thailand`s Songkran festival celebrations

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 14:17

Bangkok: Drunk driving and speeding have claimed at least 204 lives and wounded 2,142 in Thailand during the first four days of the week-long Songkran festival that marks the arrival of spring.

Until yesterday, the number of lives lost during the first three days of the "seven dangerous days" of the festival stood at 161.

Forty-three people were killed and 502 injured in 488 accidents yesterday, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department reported.

The greatest number of the accidents yesterday were caused due to drunk driving (43.03 per cent), followed by speeding (22.34 per cent).

The majority (78.23 per cent) of the accidents involved motorcycles.

Songkran is like Holi, but instead of colours, the Thais use talcum powder mixed in water with ice in it. They welcome spring by travelling to be with elders and family members, sometimes to other provinces, to take their blessings.

Many shops remain closed during the four days of the festival which usually extends the whole week.

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.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 14:17

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