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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Floods close factories; Laos crash bodies to return home; Chalerm in relapse; Jakkrit mourned

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Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Floods close factories; Laos crash bodies to return home; Chalerm in relapse; Jakkrit mourned | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Industrial estate battles floodwater
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate in Chon Buri is facing a severe battle keeping out floodwaters, which have forced 15 factories in its compound to suspend operations.

Another 78 factories outside the protection of estates, mainly in the Northeast, have reportedly been inundated.

The factories in the Amata Nakorn estate are not under water, but have been temporarily closed because of the difficulties their employees are having getting to work.

Some public areas within the estate are inundated. The highest floodwater level is between 30 and 40 centimetres.

“We expect to drain all floodwater from the estate within one or two days, if no more rain comes,” Amata Corporation’s chief marketing officer Viboon Kromadit said yesterday.

With support from various agencies, more than 100 pumps are working hard to clear all the floodwater. Some 43 boats have also been commissioned to help facilitate the flow of water out of the estate.

Amata Corporation operates the Amata Nakorn estate.

Royal Irrigation Department deputy director-general Suthep Noipairoj said the industrial estate was located in a low-lying area that was prone to take in run-off water from nearby areas.

Suthep said that water drainage would need to be done carefully out of concern for local communities already struggling with floods in the face of high tides. “The industrial estate and authorities will have to minimise the impact on these communities,” he said.

Meanwhile, Industry Ministry inspector-general Panithan Jindaphu said 78 factories outside the industrial estates had been flooded, mostly in the Northeast. He calculated the combined damage at about Bt85 million.

Of the total, 70 are small-scale businesses and eight are medium-sized.

These factories are located in 12 provinces: 11 in Ubon Ratchathani, 16 in Si Sa Ket, 13 in Nakhon Nayok, seven in Prachin Buri, five each in Chanthaburi and Chaiyaphum, six in Angthong, eight in Sa Kaew, two in Buri Ram, three in Nakhon Ratchasima and one each in Ayutthaya and Chachoengsao.

“Remedial measures will include waivers of licensing fees. We will also discuss with other agencies the offering of soft loans, as was done in 2011,” Panithan said.

First bodies from plane crash coming back today
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The bodies of three Thai men killed in last week’s Lao Airlines plane crash near Pakse will be transferred back to Thailand today, officials have said.

The three bodies will be flown back from Laos to Bangkok by a Thai government C130 plane, which will first drop Navy frogmen at U-tapao in Rayong province. The men were killed when the plane crashed on October 16 into the Mekong River in Champasak province in Laos.

The bodies of Phakkhawat Atiratanachai, Kamueng Chartkasemchai and Veekij Busarawuthanusorn will arrive in Bangkok by 4pm, officials said yesterday.

Five Thais died in the crash, but the other two deceased have yet to be identified. Officials in Laos are still awaiting the results of DNA tests.

The five Thais were among 44 passengers and five crew on the ill-fated Lao Airlines plane, which crashed into the Mekong during stormy weather on its approach to Pakse airport.

Meanwhile, there were indications late yesterday that search teams may have picked up signals from the plane’s black box, which could reveal the causes of the tragedy.

Divers were reportedly trying to retrieve the flight data recorder from an area about 400 metres from the crash site, but were battling with the strong current and muddy water. The river is thought to be about 12 to 13 metres deep in that section.

Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said the Thai Consulate in Savannakhet, Laos, had informed him that Laos’ public works and transport minister had told Thai officials to end their search for bodies yesterday, as there were just a small number to be recovered and Laotian authorities could handle that task from now on.

Department of Information chief Sek Wannamethee said Laotian officials still wanted six Thai forensic experts to stay for a few more days to help them identify the 42 bodies that have been recovered. To date, only 16 have been officially identified – two of these were the Thai bodies coming back today.

Government offices in Laos observed a minute’s silence yesterday to pay tribute to the 49 people who died last week in the plane crash, state media said. The government instructed state officials to hold the event at 2.15pm, The |Vientiane Times and state-run radio reported.

Chalerm collapses again
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung collapsed in his office at the Labour Ministry yesterday afternoon and was rushed to hospital.

He was talking to Pol General Pongsapat Pongcharoen, the secretary-general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board, about organising a meeting for drug suppression when he collapsed. He was rushed to Ramathibodi Hospital at 1.45pm. Chalerm had just returned to work for a week after undergoing an operation for bleeding on the brain.

Dr Surasak Leelaudomlipi, director of Ramathibodi Hospital, said that though Chalerm’s fists were clenched, he could talk to the doctors and interact with them normally.

Chalerm will be kept in hospital for observation.

Grenades fired at district chief’s home in Pattani
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Suspected insurgents fired M79 grenades from mountainous woods at the home of Pattani’s Ma Yor district chief on Sunday night but no one was injured.

The first grenade damaged the wall of a pavilion near the house while the second grenade hit a tree.

Police inspected the scene yesterday. They said district chief Supol Phokaew had returned from inspecting sub-district election booths and was in the house when the grenades were fired.

Inquiries revealed that district chiefs have been targeted for years, such as a 2008 incident in which then district chief Wirat Prasetso and several other officials were injured in a bomb attack in Krasoh sub-district. Last year M79 grenades were fired at the home of then district chief Pisal Awae – but missed, and on February 4 Pisal was ambushed by gunmen while going to work but emerged unharmed.

Shock, dismay at shooter’s slaying
The Nation / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: The Thai sports fraternity is mourning the death of national sharpshooter Jakkrit “X” Panichpatikum.

Famous athletes have joined fans and journalists in posting tributes on Twitter and Facebook, after pistol shooter Jakkrit was shot in his Porsche by a gunman on a motorbike on Saturday evening in Bangkok’s Sukhapiban 3 area while on his way to meet his family for dinner.

“I got to know him during a trip back from the London Olympics. That was the first time we met, but I never thought it w

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Road deaths

Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year

The Thaiger

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Thailand road toll: 554 dead this month, 11,462 this year | The Thaiger

PHOTO: U-Turn crash in Bangkok – Daily News

Daily news reports fatalities at the scene of accidents yesterday claimed the lives of 21 people. Yesterday was a busy day on Thailand’s roads at the end of a long weekend.

They say the numbers reported are only those that die at the scene. In reality, when hospital deaths and all regions report their stats, the figures end up much higher.

So far this October 554 have died at the scene of accidents resulting in a yearly total nationwide of 11,462. Thailand is recognised by the World Health Organisation as the fifth highest road toll in the world, per capita.

Figures are reported daily by Daily News who highlight the need to be vigilant at U-turns in their story about this air-conditioned bus (above)on Route 29 that collided with the back of a container truck.

Seven passengers on the bus were injured in the accident on Pahonyothin Road near the Kesri 5 housing estate in Klong 1, Klong Luang district north of Bangkok. The truck driver was trying to execute a U-turn at the time.

SOURCE: Daily News | ThaiVisa

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Environment

Thailand’s swift response to the ‘fall armyworm’ pest

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s swift response to the ‘fall armyworm’ pest | The Thaiger

OPINION: Somsak Samanwong – Regional Technical Educator for APAC, Corteva Agriscience. PHOTO: East-East Seed

In Thailand, corn is an indispensable staple crop, used as an important source of feed for a thriving poultry and livestock industry. About 1.04 million hectares of our land is used to produce corn, with this year’s yields estimated at a record high of 5.3 million tonnes.

As Thailand becomes increasingly recognised as a major world food exporter, our reliance on corn is growing to meet consumer demand for meat, both locally and globally – we are currently the third largest chicken exporter in the world. For many of us, it comes as a surprise that this ordinary but versatile crop is intrinsic in fuelling our status as the “kitchen of the world”.

A small but powerful threat

However, this established position and the very growth of our food economy is currently under siege from the rise of fall armyworm, a pest so damaging that it can destroy corn crops overnight. The fall armyworm is an insect native to the Americas, where it has caused significant damage for decades. With a zealous appetite for corn, the pest quickly began to ravage crops in the Africa region following its arrival in 2016, causing losses of $13.3 billion.

Fall armyworm started moving closer to home, spreading across Yemen, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, before reaching Thailand in December 2018. Since then, around 50 corn-growing provinces have been infested, particularly in the west of Thailand.

Fall armyworm infestations can result in yield losses for corn of up to 50%, which can have devastating implications – for those whose livelihoods rely on their crops, but also for the poultry and other meat production industries whose success and expansion heavily depend on their produce.

What makes fall armyworm so challenging to control is its high reproductive capacity and long migration distances. The pest has been known to migrate up to 1500 km3, slightly more than the distance from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, covering up to 100 km per night. Couple this ability to travel with rapid reproduction – four generations of fall armyworm can be observed in a single corn crop – and you have a devastating mix.

Recognising the tremendous impact of fall armyworm on the nation’s farmers and our food security, the Thai authorities and key stakeholders across the agriculture industry have come together, uniting efforts to equip our farmers with the tools they need to help manage the spread of fall armyworm. By applying our learnings with fall armyworm in response to future threats, we can help to ensure our farmers are empowered and our nation’s food supplies – for Thailand and for the rest of the world – are protected.

Taking swift and decisive action

Thailand’s Department of Agriculture responded to the first FAO warning of fall armyworm in India by setting up a surveillance program to monitor corn growing states along the shared border with Myanmar. During this time, informative materials about fall armyworm and the ongoing surveillance program were shared with relevant agencies, universities, and most importantly, corn farmers.

Establishing communication between the authorities and those on the ground was and remains an important focus, and a telephone hotline and Line account were set up so that farmers are able to report potential infestations. As a previously unseen pest in Thailand, setting up infrastructure to monitor crops in the recognition of fall armyworm was pivotal to aiding a quick response.

Thailand’s swift response to the 'fall armyworm' pest | News by The Thaiger

Imparting knowledge through educational efforts

Knowledge-sharing between the authorities, academic experts, farmers and industry is crucial in the fight against threats like fall armyworm. In November 2018, an educational programme for Thailand’s authorities developed with the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) by CropLife Asia helped to provide senior agricultural and food industry leaders with in-depth information about fall armyworm and its habits.

By sharing knowledge of the pest between the government and affected industries, accurate and up-to-date information could spread across the country almost as quickly as fall armyworm itself.

Farmers remain at the heart of agriculture, and thus, in-field education is of paramount importance to safeguard crops.

Through a series of training programmes and the provision of educational materials, farmers were educated on and empowered to adopt an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach, as recommended by the World Trade Organisation on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, to control and prevent the spread of fall armyworm. IPM combines pre-emptive treatments, scouting, monitoring and targeted treatments to protect the health of corn crops from seed to plant, and, in turn, to protect Thailand’s food security.

Equipping farmers with the necessary tools

In adopting an IPM approach against fall armyworm, it is our role as agriscience experts to ensure farmers have access to safe, effective and greener solutions to control its physical spread. And, through the development of innovative technologies, solutions are available to provide farmers with long-lasting control of fall armyworm, whilst being environmentally safe to use.

Amparar®, Corteva Agriscience’s foliar spray, contains the active ingredient Spinetoram and has been recommended for use in corn in Thailand to help protect corn crops against fall armyworm. It controls the insects in two ways – through ingestion and contact by the pest, providing a quick knock-down for lasting control. Amparar® has been awarded the prestigious Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for its positive environmental profile and margin of safety towards beneficial insects. It is recommended by the Thai authorities as the top crop protection product for managing fall armyworm.

Our fight against fall armyworm has brought to light the invaluable role of corn in the development of Thailand as global provider of food. Perhaps even more importantly, it has helped to demonstrate how much can be achieved when public and private sectors work together in response to those that threaten our food security. We must continue to activate and engage all stakeholders – from farmers, governments, industry and academia – to ensure that, whatever the next threat to our “kitchen of the world”, we remain poised for action to protect it.

Thailand’s swift response to the 'fall armyworm' pest | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg

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Bangkok

The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com

In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.

But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.

Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.

In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.

The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.

By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.

Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.

You can read the full list HERE.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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