My sister screamed with panic - and shouted ‘earthquake’

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A RUGBY woman who has helped raise funds to rebuild a school in Thailand ravaged by floods fears for her family after a massive earthquake hit her home town.

Sunathee Findlay, who was brought up in Northern Thailand, was on the phone to her sister when the 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck.

The quake hit Eastern Myanmar, about 55 miles north of Chiang Rai, where she grew up.

Mrs Findlay, of Saxon Close, Cawston Grange, said: “I heard my sister scream with panic and shout ‘earthquake’.

“She said it again and again so I told her to calm down and take her son outside to lay down away from the buildings.”

There was no answer when she tried to phone her mother.

“Later there were several strong aftershocks. My husband Andrew tried ringing again and my other sister picked up the phone and let us know my mother was alright.”

She said people were still anxious after the earthquake struck on March 24.

“My mother said in 40 years she had never felt an earthquake that strong before. It was like the situation in Japan. It was so scary.”

The epicentre was 69 miles from Chiang Rai, Thailand, and struck at 8.25pm local time.

The quake was centered 69 miles north of the town of Chiang Rai, a sparsely populated, hilly area that forms part of the ‘Golden Triangle’, and where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meet.

It was significantly less powerful than the one than the recent quake Japan two weeks ago, but was roughly comparable in magnitude and depth to last year’s Haiti earthquake.

“My family and I strongly believe that we have to move my family away from this area but we have to research which part of Thailand will be safe from flooding and earthquakes,” said Mrs Findlay.

Last month Mrs Findlay asked for donations instead of presents at her 40th birthday part at the Arnold House in Rugby.

More than 200 of her Thai and British friends attended with performances from the Thai Dance Acedemy and British singer/songwriter Sherena Dugani.

The night raised £1,207 for the British-Thai School Relief Fund.

She added: “It was a brilliant night and I had a great response from so many people.”

“I have been so moved by the plight of these children who were victims of the gigantic tropical storm Mindule, which totally devastated Pa-sang Na-ngern village school.”

As well as the school being damaged last year, more than 2,000 homes were flooded by water breaching the river banks as well as farmland.

She said: “My home town still needs somebody do something for them and I can’t give up yet.”

A Thai food-tasting day is taking place at her house in Cawston Grange on Wednesday, April 13, from 11.30am to 1.30pm.

To help support the cause, email british.thai.relief.fund@superbthai.co.uk or for more information phone (01788) 521396.