For those of you who are unfamiliar with Songkran, here’s a quick crash course on the most important parts: it’s the annual New Year’s festival celebrated by the 67 million people in Thailand every April where people throw water at one another to cleanse and revitalize their bodies. It is one of the most popular holidays celebrated nation-wide, always stretches over a number of days, and always features a disproportionately high number of drunk driving accidents.
Thailand is already a country that suffers an unusually high number of road-fatalities; the nation ranks second in the world in traffic deaths, accounting for 5.1% of deaths for citizens there according to the World Health Organization. 80 people a day died on the roads in Thailand in 2014 alone. Toss in the jovial atmosphere and partying mood that a festival like Songkran brings with it, and officials are reporting the deadliest celebration in the country’s history.
In just the first six days of the seven day festival, 397 people have been killed, a statistic that the Bangkok Post has noted as being 30% higher than last year’s figures. The primary cause for these deaths is alcohol-related.
Over 3,200 people suffered injuries and there were over 3,000 accidents in total. The country’s narrow roads are often to blame, and one estimate by the Pew Research Center says that 87% of households in Thailand have some sort of motorcycle or scooter. Thailand officials have said that the final numbers will not be known until after the completion of the festival.
Here are some images from Songkran celebrations this year:
A video posted by @pandolinadventures on
— Richard Barrow (@RichardBarrow) April 13, 2016
[h/t Bangkok Post]
[image via screengrab]
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