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Postcards from Thais struggling through the Covid-19 crisis

Anukul

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Postcards from Thais struggling through the Covid-19 crisis | Thaiger
PHOTO: thisrupt.co

Thai citizens throughout the Kingdom have been struggling to earn enough money to survive as the government continues to enforce new measures of the state of emergency to reduce Covid-19 infections. Here are some opinions of local Thai citizens collected by the Bangkok Post.

• Kanchanaburi province (west coast of Thailand) was a popular tourist attraction where people who wanted to see Thailand’s historical events, but many of those who depended on tourism are now struggling. The historical Burma Railway bridge over the Kwai Yai River in Kanchanaburi has now been silent after tourists and vendors chose to stay home.

• Lottery vendors are currently earning as little as 80 baht per day despite attempting to sell tickets in areas that used to attract visitors. The Government Lottery Office has also postponed its April 1 draw to May 16, making it even harder for local lottery vendors trying to make ends meet. A source reports that lottery vendors used to earn at least 1,000 baht each day.

• Being aware of the current situation, some citizens have organised themselves to help people most affected by distributing meals for free. One group who calls itself ‘Muang Kan Volunteers’ has been providing 500 meal packages per day and including masks and hand sanitiser for those who can not afford to feed themselves at the moment.

Postcards from Thais struggling through the Covid-19 crisis | News by Thaiger

Postcards from Thais struggling through the Covid-19 crisis | News by Thaiger

• In Chai Nat (north of Bangkok), Suparat Nilrasamee, a trader who used to sell somtam (papaya salad) in Hankha district, was disappointed she did not qualify for the government’s 5,000-baht payouts due to miscommunication during the application process. Ms Suparat said her somtam business has been passed down through generations, but the government classified her as an agriculture agent. She says she is disappointed the government can disburse money to those who dismiss the aid as “small change”, while those who need to buy milk powder for infants were rejected.

• CCTV footage showed a young couple and their child riding a motorbike and snatching six eggs worth 57 baht while the stall owner was not looking. Komsan Rasrima (owner of the stall), then put up a sign asking the couple to stop stealing and ask him for the eggs instead, which he was happy to give away.

• In Trat (boarding Cambodia), farmers are reporting a huge fall in rambutan prices. Pornladda Niangnim, a rambutan farmer, says she has had to also deal with wild elephants damaging her crops. She says the price of rambutans has dropped to only 20 baht per kilogram, forcing her to take on debt to save her business.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Central Thailand

Committee tasked with resolving Karen land row to hold first meeting tomorrow

Maya Taylor

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Committee tasked with resolving Karen land row to hold first meeting tomorrow | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr

A panel tasked with resolving the ongoing land dispute between Karen tribespeople and national park officials will hold its first meeting tomorrow. According to Thamanat Prompow from the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, the committee hopes to find a solution to the disagreement between forest protection officials and Karen villagers who wish to reside in Kaeng Krachan National Park, in the central province of Phetchaburi.

The villagers’ presence in the national park prompted complaints from environmental groups who were concerned about the effect on the surrounding area. The PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, has previously stated the villagers cannot return to the national park, but protesters sympathetic to the plight of the Karen people have been campaigning outside Government House.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the newly-formed committee that will oversee the resolution of the dispute comprises people from both sides of the argument. However, no sooner was the panel created than another controversy arose.

Karen people from the village of Bang Kloi-Jai Paen Din, in Kaeng Krachan National Park, as well as members of the People’s Movement for a Just Society, insist Prasan Wangrattanapranie, assistant to Deputy PM, Prawit Wongsuwon, can no longer be involved in the matter. The villagers claim he insulted them while visiting the village last Thursday, when he accused them of growing marijuana.

Prasan says he will no longer play any role in government attempts to resolve the land dispute. For his part, Thamanat says Prasan was never a member of the committee and that he requested he distance himself from the matter to stop things getting worse.

Meanwhile, the Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Varawut Silpa-archa, says his ministry have nearly finished a variety of tasks aimed at helping the villagers, but admits not all will be completed on time. Some of the jobs include managing water supplies for farming, as well as finding new farmland for the Karen people. Varawut says he can’t give an exact date for when all the work might be complete, due to laws that have been in place since before his ministry was set up.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

17 new Covid infections in new Samut Prakan cluster, 584 being monitored

Maya Taylor

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17 new Covid infections in new Samut Prakan cluster, 584 being monitored | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr / UN Women / Pathumporn Thongking

The Department of Disease Control says 17 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in migrant workers in the central province of Samut Prakan, part of the Bangkok Metropolitan Region and directly south and east of central Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi Airport is in Samut Prakan). Opas Karnkawinpong from the DDC says the infections were detected at migrant worker camps, and an additional 584 people are being closely monitored.

“Construction sites have multiple risk factors, such as shared facilities and in this case, the workers violated Covid-19 prevention rules by throwing a party.”

The Bangkok Post reports that the first carrier is thought to be a 29 year old Burmese worker, who reported for testing on March 13. When she tested positive, the DDC carried out proactive testing at migrant labour camps on Soi Sukhumvit 107 and 117, where an additional 16 people tested positive. 2 of those are Burmese, 4 are Thai, and 10 are Cambodian.

Meanwhile, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, there were 81 new cases of the virus reported yesterday. 45 were recorded in hospitals and 36 were detected through proactive mass testing, most of them in the central province of Samut Sakhon, where a resurgence of the virus told hold late last year.

Officials are also focused on containing the recent cluster detected in market traders in the Bang Khae district of the capital (west of the Chao Phraya). According to the Bangkok Post report, cases linked to Bang Khae have been reported as far away as the southern province of Songkhla and the north-eastern province of Si Sa Ket.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says another 16 cases linked to Bang Khae were reported yesterday, meaning the cluster has now given rise to 384 cases to date. Mass vaccination is taking place in Bang Khae, with 2,600 receiving the vaccine so far.

The BMA is also planning a second field hospital near Rajpipattana Hospital in the district of Thawi Wattana. The first field hospital opened in January, near Bang Khunthian Hospital, and has 600 beds.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Central Thailand

Bus driver of student field trip arrested after police find 600 kilograms of methamphetamine onboard

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Bus driver of student field trip arrested after police find 600 kilograms of methamphetamine onboard | Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

A chartered bus driver, who recently took students on a field trip, was arrested after police found 600 kilograms of methamphetamine in the bus’ luggage compartment. 53 year old Amorn Chatawittayakul, the driver, was stopped at the Tha Yang intersection on Phetkasem Highway in Thailand’s central Petchaburi province at about 8pm last night.

The bus was headed back from a student field trip to King Mongkut Memorial Park of Science and Technology in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Police searched the bus and found 30 sacks containing speed pills and crystal meth, each weighing about 20 kilograms.

20 year old Naratorn Hongtong, the bus’ attendant, was also arrested. Police say the suspects admitted they drove the bus to Pak Tho district of Ratchaburi to pick up the drugs from a man who gave them 100,000 baht to deliver them to Phatthalung province. Then they returned to pick up the kids and drive them back to Songkhla province. Police say the chartered bus had the words “Petcharee Tour” written on it.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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