Connect with us


Tsunami evacuation drill “hit and miss’



PHUKET: Andaman Wave 007, the first regional testing of the 79 National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) tsunami warning towers along the Andaman Coast, was conducted at 9:45 this morning, with mixed results in Phuket.

While impressive mock evacuation and emergency response drills were being staged for the media on the beach at the foot of Soi Bangla in Patong, residents in other parts of the island complained that the sirens and recorded voice warnings were too quiet, with one siren not making any noise at all.

The evacuation at Soi Bangla was reminiscent of the April 2005 evacuation, with helicopters staging offshore maneuvers, rescue workers assisting the elderly, and volunteers pretending to have various handicaps and injuries.

In Kalim, less than two kilometers to the north, the only signs of activity were at Baan Kalim School, where 300 students ran to the third floor of the school from the courtyard in under a minute. Other residents in the area disregarded the siren.

Along most of Patong Beach and Kalim, people said they could hear the siren but could not make out voice-recorded warnings aired in different languages.

People more than a few hundred meters back from the beach said they heard nothing at all, as the sounds were completely drowned out by the noise of passing traffic, strong offshore winds and construction projects.

A group of lifeguards stationed at the beach in front of the Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa said they had heard no warning sounds.

“One thing is certain: if the siren sounds at night there is no way anyone will be able to hear it along Soi Bangla,” said a woman selling tours from a roadside kiosk.

Speaking from NDWC headquarters in Nonthaburi, NDWC Director Dr Smith Dharmasaroja said he was satisfied with the performance of the 79 towers, but was displeased by the failure of local authorities in many areas to carry out evacuation drills.

Told that the warning tower at Baan Ao Yon on Phuket’s east coast had failed to sound, Dr Smith said that it was among 20 towers in the region that were installed by local authorities, not the NDWC.

At Baan Ao Por, about 50 local people took part in evacuation drills, while even fewer took part in Chalong and Kamala.

Chalong resident Jeffrey Powell, 67, a native of the English Midlands, joked, “It could be someone’s kettle boiling over.” He sat in a roadside cafe about 200 meters from the pier, where offshore island speedboat shuttles dock.

“In Patong, they have a proper siren. It’s loud,” he added.

Mr Powell said that many marine vessels have horns that emit similar sounds to the warning siren.

“I know one thing,” said cafe owner Yui Jandarot, 46, whose shop was damaged in the tsunami two years ago. “No one has time to listen to announcements when the wave comes. It comes quickly.

“My children were playing in the sea in front of our shop when the tsunami came. The first wave drove all the boats southeast towards Palai Beach. The second wave was larger and the water came inside the shop, but they still played in the water even with all the junk floating around,” she added.

“They’d have continued playing, too, but their father worried something weird was going on and took them away.”


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

World Cup44 mins ago

World cup to be shown in Thai prison

Economy1 hour ago

UK exports to Japan slump after ‘landmark’ free trade deal

Thailand2 hours ago

Try These Weird Thai Foods… If You Dare

Sponsored2 days ago

Where you can get cannabis in Bangkok

World20 hours ago

Thai gangs traffic Kenyans to Myanmar scam factories

South21 hours ago

Deep South emergency decree extended 3 months

Thailand21 hours ago

Why Is Thailand So Cheap?

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Expats22 hours ago

Phuket’s 5 best golf courses

Crime22 hours ago

Inmate who escaped Khon Kaen hospital back in custody

Coronavirus (Covid-19)23 hours ago

Masks recommended in crowds amid Covid increase

Crime1 day ago

Squabbling beach vendor gives rival a single bullet warning

Tourism1 day ago

Russian invasion takes Thailand’s tourism forces by surprise

Road deaths1 day ago

Late night drinking hopes dashed by Alcohol Control Committee

Thailand1 day ago

Why Pattaya? Is Pattaya worth visiting in 2023?

Transport1 day ago

Thai Airways appoint new CEO

Crime1 day ago

Private jet in ‘Tuhao’ case still flying free

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11