PHUKET: Tourists hitting the sands of Patong Beach early next Friday morning may find themselves in for a bit of a surprise, as the province plans to conduct a tsunami evacuation drill in the area at 10 am on April 29.
An “evacuation route map” and a variety of warning signs were presented Wednesday to a seminar at The Metropole Hotel led by Suntorn Liuluang, Director-General of the Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation,
Speakers at the seminar included Smith Thammasaroj, who was appointed by the Prime Minister to establish the National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC), and Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura.
As the Andaman coast’s most heavily developed tourist district, Patong was selected as the site for the pilot project for the NDWC warning system, which Center officials say will eventually cover the entire Andaman coast.
The evacuation drill will be in response to a theoretical tsunami-producing earthquake of 9.0 Richter-scale magnitude, with an epicenter near the Nicobar Islands in India – just 400 kilometers from Phuket.
Such a wave could reach Patong in 30 minutes. With ten minutes needed for the warning message to be sent and the sirens sounded, the evacuation woulf need to be complete within 20 minutes, the seminar was told.
Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura said that with an effective plan in place, it should be possible to evacuate people to safety within that time, whether the warning comes at day or night.
The March 28 earthquake and subsequent tsunami scare demonstrated the need to implement an evacuation plan as quickly as possible. This involved designating evacuation routes, training of personnel and installation of equipment, he added.
Dr Smith said that installation of NDWC equipment for Patong was already 90% complete and would be finished by the end of April, making it the first of its kind in the countries hit by the December 26 tsunami.
Three siren towers have already been successfully tested in Patong, though these have yet to be connected to the NDWC headquarters, which are located outside Bangkok.
Dr Smith said that the NDWC warning system for coastal regions of all six tsunami-affected provinces would be completed within six to 12 months.
This would involve installation of more siren towers, spaced at distances of 1.5 to 1.8 kilometers, all of which would be directly linked via satellite to the NDWC center in Nonthaburi.
In addition, the Meteorological Department would also issue tsunami warnings through radio and TV networks, he said.
Dr Smith said that extending the warning system to cover all of Phuket would involve the installation of 15 more warning towers. This could be accomplished within three months at a cost of 40 million baht, he said.
He did not elaborate on how just 15 siren towers, emitting signals audible at a radius of 1.5 to 1.8 kilometers, could cover the entire coastline – or if by “complete coverage” he was referring only to the west-facing beaches popular with foreign tourists.
The three warning towers in Patong were donated by their manufacturer at a cost of around 7 million baht, he said.
K. Smith, who faced ridicule when, as Meteorological Department director seven years ago, he lobbied for a tsunami warning system, added that if such a system had been developed at that time the lives of some 6,000 to 7,000 people in Thailand could have been saved on December 26, 2004.
Phang Nga Governor Anuwat Metheeviboonwut told the seminar that the first evacuation plan in his province, for Takuapa District, would be completed on May 10 and would cover Nang Thong, Bang Niang, Khao Lak and Bang Sak beaches.
He added that Phang Nga needs a minimum of 10 warning towers along its western coast between Tai Muang and Kuraburi Districts. In some areas evacuation routes needed to extend as far as two kilometers inland, whereas at beaches backed by hills, such as in parts of Khao Lak, the evacuation routes could be as short as 15 meters, he said.
Dr Smith noted that his department is looking into buying the necessary equipment for Phang Nga [and other provinces] and said that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was very keen to approve funding.
Also unveiled at the seminar were a variety of cardboard warning signs bearing symbolic representations of tsunami waves, along with evacuation instructions in Thai and English.
Responsibility for posting the signs will fall to Patong Municipality, which was represented at the seminar by Deputy Mayor Chairat Sukbal. He said the temporary signs, to be ready for the evacuation drill, would eventually be replaced by more permanent ones.
“We’ll use these until we get the permanent ones, which are taking a long time to get have made,” he explained.
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations
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.
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works
The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.
The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.
The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.
Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.
As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.
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