Still reeling from impacts of car-bomb explosion
The powerful explosion which took place on Sunday February 13 injured 17 people, four of them seriously, and destroyed 11 antiquated shophouses which were considered as the town’s landmark. Five cars and 15 motorcycles were also badly damaged. Total property loss was estimated at about 30 million baht.
But the psychological impacts caused by the blast are still clearly being felt by the local residents a week afterward. Although burned-out vehicles have already been removed from the Sai Klang road, the destroyed shophouses are yet to be cleared.
While several shopkeepers sustained heavy losses in the fire in the aftermath of the bomb blast, others whose shops or stalls are spared the destruction are suffering from poor business as their regular customers have virtually disappeared, leaving the once bustling street almost deserted.
One of the unfortunate shopkeepers, Mrs Aree, who runs a gift shop on Sai Klang street told a reporter from Isra news agency that she made only 50 baht that day although she had to pay 5,000 baht a month on rent for a small space to put up her stall on the street pavement.
She said that normally she would close her stall at about 8 pm. But, after the bombing incident, has to close two hours earlier. Nevertheless, she admitted that there were no customers most of the time even on weekends which used to be very busy.
A few other vendors admitted that they could do nothing to improve the situation and only hoped that business would gradually pick up and return to normal in the foreseeable future.
Another shopkeeper, 69-year old Sapae-ing Buenae, whose shophouse was destroyed in the fire was not discouraged however. He said that the government had promised to build him a new shophouse in six months and to refund him for all his damaged property and valuables.
His wife, Mrs Armeenoh Buenae, admitted she did not regret the bad luck and thanked Allah for being kind to her. “Our old house was a wooden house. Now the government promised to build us a concrete house,” she said.
The mayor of Yala municipality, Mr Pongsak Yingchoncharoen, admitted that the explosion had limited impacts. He hoped that business would return to normal soon. However, he said that all authorities concerned should sit down to discuss what proper measures should be adopted to prevent a repeat of such a violent incident.