PHUKET: Phuket officials will ask the National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) to add Russian language to the spoken messages played by its 19 warning towers along Phuket’s coast.
Preedee Aengseng, Communications Officer at the Phuket office of Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM-Phuket), told the Phuket Gazette that the request will be made on May 16, when NDWC officers come to Phuket to conduct a training session for local DDPM officers and members of other emergency-response organizations.
“This would enable more tourists to understand the tsunami warning message, aiding any evacuation required and possibly saving lives in the event of a tsunami,” Mr Preedee told the Gazette.
The request is the result of the confusion that reigned at Phuket beaches during the tsunami scare on April 11, when the warning towers along the Andaman seaboard sounded the alarm to evacuate.
In the aftermath of that evacuation, the Gazette received several reports of large groups of Russian tourists bewildered as many did not speak English, Thai or any of the three other languages the warning messages were played in.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket office director Bangornrat Shinaprayoon voiced her support for adding Russian to the recorded message.
“Adding Russian would be good because it would help Russian tourists to understand what is going on when the alarm sounds,” she told the Gazette.
Ms Bangornrat pointed out that Russia was currently Phuket’s second-largest source for tourists visiting Phuket, second only to China.
“Last year we had 340,000 tourists from China visit Phuket, and 270,000 tourists from Russia,” she said.
However the decision whether to add Russian rested with the NDWC, she added.
However, NDWC Deputy Director Thavorn Charoendee told the Gazette that he prefers not to add any more language segments to the existing message, which already takes 3 minutes and 26 seconds per cycle.
“It will be too long. I want the warning message in Thai and English only. If you miss hearing the message in your language the first time, you have to wait minutes until the message is replayed in your language again,” he said.
“If this happens, people will waste time standing around and listening, trying to understand what the message is saying, instead of evacuating the area,” he told the Gazette.
“In fact, I am thinking about making the siren sound [that starts the warning] longer. Whatever language you speak, when you hear sirens you know something is wrong and that an evacuation might be necessary, especially if you see other people leaving,” Mr Thavorn said.
The five languages chosen when the message was prepared in 2005 reflected the most common languages spoken by tourists visiting Phuket at the time, he said.
“At that time most Russians visiting Thailand chose to visit Pattaya, not Phuket. That’s why Russian is not one of the languages,” he explained.
Phuket Tourist Association (PTA) President Somboon Jirayus told the Gazette that the PTA received many complaints that tourists were confused by the warning message.
“What we need is for the siren to be louder and clearer. This is much more important than which languages are used,” he said.
“Also, there are two recorded messages: one announces the evacuation order and the other rescinds it,” he said.
Currently, both messages are preceded by similar siren sounds.
“The sirens [used in the warning and the cancellation] need to be different to avoid any confusion. When tourists hear the first alarm, they move away. But when the second message is played to announce that the evacuation order has been called off, they think it is the first message being played again,” he added.
The cancellation message lasts 2 minutes 44 seconds. As with the warning alarm, the cancellation message starts with a siren sound followed by spoken messages in Thai, English, German, Chinese and Japanese, all repeated once, and ending with a repeat of the siren.
The spoken message in English reads, “Attention, please! Attention please! The situation is back to normal. Please continue to rescue the victims”.
Although the duration and tones used in the cancellation siren are different from those used in the tsunami warning, overall sounds are very similar.
— Orawin NarabalKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Drug party raided in Chiang Rai for defying public gathering ban
Authorities are cracking down and enforcing the ban on on public gatherings under the the state of emergency declared to fight the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic last week. 22 people were arrested at a drug party in Chiang Rai yesterday for “gathering in defiance of the Emergency Decree”. 10 men and 12 women between the ages of 20 and 30 were nabbed at a hotel in the province’s main city district.
(Gamblers also arrested in Phuket, below)
The 22 were attending a pool party where alcohol and drugs such as ecstasy and ketamine were allegedly being sold. Police confiscated 237,000 baht in cash found in a bag, along with illicit drugs for evidence.
An initial investigation showed that a 24 year old man from Trat province in Thailand’s east, on the Cambodian border, had been holding parties at the hotel since last Thursday. It’s believed he started holding the parties because most public venues are unavailable during the virus scare.
Chiang Rai’s governor says police raided the hotel in tambon Tha Sut after a tip-off.
Apart from drug charges, the detainees will also be punished for defying the Emergency Decree, which bans gatherings. The penalty is two years in prison and/or a fine of up to 40,000 baht. Chiang Rai has 5 confirmed coronavirus cases.
In a related development, 6 gamblers were arrested in Phuket near the island’s Muang district yesterday.
The detainees were identified as 51 year old Natthawut, 55 year old Suwit, 40 year old Charoon, 48 year old Praiwan, 28 year old Natthapol and 39 year old Natthapong. No surnames were added to the report. Police say that while some were wearing masks to potentially protect themselves from the coronavirus, they were violating the Emergency Decree by sitting around a table to play the games. Gambling is officially illegal in Thailand, apart from the bi-monthly lottery.
SOURCE: Bangkok PostKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Jungceylon Phuket commences food ordering and deliveries
Jungceylon shopping mall, in Patong Phuket has established a ‘food ordering & pick up’ service point for all its restaurants and fast food outlets to increase convenience and safety for local residents in the Patong district. The mall is offering the service in partnership with 30 restaurants and chains, including…
- AKA Japanese Restaurant, Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin ‘Donuts, Four Seasons Restaurant, Fuji Japanese Restaurant, Haagen-Dazs, Jeffer Steak & Seafood, KFC, Kin Japanese Buffet Restaurant, Le Siam, MK Gold Restaurants. , On the table, Pizza Hut, Shabushi, Spice House, Starbuck’s Coffee, Subway, Sushibox, Sweet Coconut, Sweet Mango, The Coffee Club, Wine Connection and Yayoi.
In addition, the mall is still open for necessities and services such as…
• Supermarkets (Big C Extra) from 09am – midnight
• Pharmacy (Boots and Watsons) from 11am – 9pm
• 7-Eleven convenience store, Burger King and McDonald’s are also open 24 hours a day, for now
Measures to prevent exposure to Covid-19 are being implemented at Jungceylon.
For more information contact Juncylon on their web page HERE, or call 076-600-111
SOURCE: Andaman News PhuketKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Phuket reports 9 new coronavirus cases (Tuesday)
Local media outlet Newshawk Phuket today reported 9 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus on the southern resort island of Phuket, bringing the total to 26, up from 17 yesterday.
• Case 18 is a 33 year old Thai woman, a waitress at Soi Bangla in Patong district. She fell sick on March 16.
• Case 19 is a 56 yeaar old Frenchman who arrived in Phuket Mach 15 and fell ill on march 18
• Case 20 is a 25 year old Swedish air hostess who arrived in Phuket on Friday.
• Case 21 is a Thai woman, aged 35, who “had contact with foreigners.” She became ill on March 20th
• Case 22 is 26 year old Thai woman, also believed to have caught the disease at Soi Bangla Bangla, and also became sick on March 20.
• Case 23 is 27 year old Thai dancer at Soi Bangla Bangla. She fell sick on March 22.
• Case 24 is a 28 year old Thai man, a bouncer in Soi Bangla, who became sick on March 19.
• Case 25 is a Thai woman, aged 62, who recently traveled to Switzerland and got sick abroad. She returned to Thailand to seek treatment.
• Case 26 is a Frenchman, aged 62, a golf teacher who recently traveled to Germany and Spain.
SOURCE: Newshawk PhuketKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
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