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‘Mud Garden’: Phuket residents protest mudslides, flooding

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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‘Mud Garden’: Phuket residents protest mudslides, flooding | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Residents of Rock Garden Phase 5 project in Rassada, who have watched in anguish as muddy floodwaters inundated their homes in recent weeks, will have to wait several more weeks before flood prevention work begins.

Following yet another major flooding late last month, the fourth in two years, about 50 residents on September 26 staged a protest over the inaction.

“The land leveling being done for the new phase now under construction has caused floodwater and mud to enter our homes,” said resident Suntorn Sakunsan, who has lived in the estate for three years.

Yesterday’s torrential rainfall caused water over half a meter deep to dam up against a retaining wall that separates the phase five project from the muddy expanse behind, but the damage to the homes was not as severe as in some of the previous floodings.

Of the 94 houses in Phase 5, about 30 have been inundated. Flooding in 12 of the most badly affected homes has reached window level at times, Mr Suntorn said.

Even worse, the water has caused septic tanks to “reverse discharge” and rendered cooking gas cylinders unusable, he added.

“We always argue with the project developer, but they haven’t done anything for us,” said Mr Suntorn.

“We have filed complaints with Rassada Municipality and the Damrongtham Center at Phuket Provincial Hall. The municipality asked the project owner to solve the problem, but without success,” he added.

Virat Chinprapinporn, chairman of Baan Rock Garden Public Co Ltd, told villagers at the meeting, “To solve the problem temporarily, our staff will keep their eyes open to make sure the drains are not clogged, so when it’s raining hard the water will flow away very well. They will also help clean up any houses and roads in the village affected by floodwaters and mud.”

Some residents blamed the quality of construction of their homes, as floodwaters seemed to have soaked straight through outer walls and into their homes. To this, Mr Virat said he would find out why that problem occurred.

As a permanent solution, Mr Virat said a storm water drain will be excavated to ensure that any runoff from the higher ground behind Phase 5 is diverted away from their homes.

“The village flooded not just because of the new phase being built, but also from plots belonging to other people. Regardless, we will start the excavation after the rain stops in about a month, but I can’t guarantee exactly when that will be. The new drain will take about one month to complete.”

The residents also asked Mr Virat to enlarge drains at the estate, but Mr Virat said that would not be necessary as his plan would put an end to the flooding.

Piyaporn Lawwong, the policy and plan analysis officer in Disaster Relief Division of Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), said the flooding was mainly the result of very heavy rainfall.

The project area is not in one of the 14 designated risk areas for flooding and landslides in Phuket, she said.

The Department of Mineral Resources in 2008 identified 14 villages as at risk of landslides: three in Kathu, five in Thalang and six in Muang District.

“The danger area survey was probably completed before this project was built, but perhaps now the department might want to add it to their list,” Ms Piyaporn suggested.

“Most of the areas at risk of landslides are construction zones and elevated sites such as hotel construction sites on hillsides,” she added.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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Tourism

Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months

Maya Taylor

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Phuket prepares to welcome first Chinese tourists in over 6 months | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Jing Daily

The first group of tourists to arrive under Thailand’s new Special Tourist Visa scheme are expected to land in Phuket on October 8. The Bangkok Post reports that a flight from Guangzhou in southern China will carry 120 tourists, who will spend their first 14 days in alternative state quarantine. They are reported to be travelling under the government’s new STV.

Arrivals who do not pass the initial health screening will be transferred to specially chosen hospitals, as “Patients under Investigation”. Those who do pass the screening will be transported to alternative state quarantine once they’ve gone through immigration processing.

A Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesperson says the resort islands of Phuket and Koh Samui will be the first to welcome travellers under the Special Tourist Via scheme. He pointed out that Guangzhou has not recorded any new cases of the Covid-19 virus for a prolonged period, meaning next week’s tourist arrivals are deemed “low risk”. His assertion is confirmed from the official figures at worldometer.info website recording world Covid-19 cases.

The CCSA reports that there will be a limit of 300 foreign tourists admitted each week, but this will be reviewed after the first phase of the re-opening. All arrivals will be subject to 14 day quarantine, although the Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has suggested reducing this to 7 days eventually. The CCSA says they are not considering reducing the quarantine time at this stage.

Thiravat Hemachudha from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre is not opposed to the idea.

“We can study this with foreign visitors who will arrive next month. During the 14 day quarantine they will be tested on the first, the seventh and the fourteenth day. If they are free of infections, we can shorten the quarantine to 7 days.”

However, not all are in agreement, with a doctor from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University cautioning against any shortening of the quarantine period.

Meanwhile, Phuket governor, Narong Woonsiew, says the province is ready to welcome the new arrivals, with Covid-19 labs in place at Phuket airport, and officials due to carry out a full dress rehearsal today.

Thanit Sermkaew, chief of the Phuket Public Health Office, says over 1,200 rooms at 9 hotels have been chosen as alternative state quarantine properties, with a total of 73 hotels, providing over 5,800 rooms, applying for consideration.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman arrested for abandoning newborn baby on a bench in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siangtai/Newshawk Phuket

Police tracked down and arrested a Burmese woman who allegedly left her newborn baby on a bench in Phuket’s Patong area last week. The mother faces charges of abandoning a baby.

The newborn was left in a reusable shopping bag on a bench behind a Krungthai Bank branch. A woman in the area heard the baby crying and found the newborn in the bag along with a bottle of milk, diapers and clothing. Police reviewed surveillance camera footage shows a woman, police later identified as Ei Ei Phyu, leaving the bag on the bench.

Police say the woman gave birth on September 9 at a local hospital in Surat Thani’s Phun Phin district. Ei Ei allegedly took a van from Surat Thani to Phuket on September 22 and stayed with a friend in Patong. The early the next morning, she allegedly left her baby on the bench before boarding a bus back to Surat Thani.

Burmese workers in the Patong area told police Ei Ei used to work at a local Indian food restaurant before she moved to Surat Thani to work as a rubber tapper. Ei Ei allegedly told police she is not in the position to raise a child.

In earlier reports, police said the baby is healthy and does not appear to have any injuries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket police arrest 6 after finding large amounts of methamphetamine in raid | The Thaiger

Phuket Provincial Police have arrested 6 people after finding large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs during a raid. One suspect alone allegedly had 7.6 kilograms of crystal meth (ya ice) and over 12,500 methamphetamine pills (ya bah). 29 year old Surasak ‘Bank’ Wijit and 27 year old Panida ‘Mei’ Saeyang were arrested at an apartment car park in Soi Lookkaew, Moo 6, Rassada, in eastern Phuket, after they were found in possession of the drugs.

Police also found 2 mobile phones and a red Honda PCX, registered in Phuket, as evidence. Both suspects have been charged with posessing a Category 1 drug with the intent to sell.

Other suspects arrested at the same time include 36 year old from Chiang Rai, 42 year old Sarawut ‘An’ Srichanon, from Ranong and 31 year old Pornthep ‘Iew’ Thepchampa, who were charged with the same crimes in Chalong after police found more drugs in their possession. 33 year old Kamon ‘Kung’ Sae-ngow, was arrested as well after police found kratom juice and leaves at a house in Rassada. He was taken to Phuket City Police station and was charged with a Category 5 drug possession.

SOURCE:The Phuket News

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