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Tropical storms batter northern Thailand - but ease deadly air pollution

Powerful storms battered northern Thailand over the weekend destroying more than 1,000 homes - but clearing the region's deadly air pollution. Heavy rain and winds of up to 70mph lashed Chiang Mai Province after temperature across the country soared to 40C. The severe tropical storms hit some 35 villages on Saturday (April 20), ripping off the rooftops of houses and sending debris flying around the area. But bizarrely, the silver lining from the heavy rain and winds helped to lift a toxic smog of deadly air pollution that has been covering the region for several weeks. Chiang Mai Governor Supachai Lamsuwan ordered local officers to assess the damage and provide immediate help to the residents the morning after the disaster. He said: “Officials are patrolling to help residents whose properties have been damaged. The team are delivering first aid and some relief packs for them. “The Third Army Region has a mobile kitchen at the municipal office to provide free food to the victims. We will make sure everyone is safe.” The worst hit area was at Hang Don district where many power poles were torn down, causing power outages for several hours throughout the evening and next day. More than 1,000 houses in the province were partially damaged by the winds while a dozen cars were also ruined by flying and collapsing objects. Though the cyclone destroyed buildings, locals said they felt that the rains had brought the unexpected side effect of easing the debilitating air pollution which had troubled their lives since January.
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