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Koh Samui

Pabuk: Floods and blackouts along southern Gulf coast as storm moves away

The Thaiger

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Pabuk: Floods and blackouts along southern Gulf coast as storm moves away | The Thaiger

• Floods and blackouts have left nearly 30,000 people in evacuation shelters across southern Thailand

• Relieved tourists stranded on islands further north were spared the worst and are now working on continuing their journeys

• Pabuk packed winds of up to 75 kph (45 mph) and brought heavy rains and storm surges as it lashed the much of the southern Gulf of Thailand coastline

• A fisherman drowned in southern Pattani province on Friday when waves smashed into his boat. Another crewman remains missing

Some of the headlines from the arrival in southern Thailand of tropical storm Pabuk yesterday.

After meandering just off the coast earlier yesterday, the eye of the storm made landfall later in the afternoon along the Nakhon Si Thammarat beaches. The storm continued north-west, entering into Surat Thani, but started to veer westward across the Malay Peninsula (known in Thailand as the Isthmus of Krabi). As the storm started crossing over the Peninsula it lost strength until reaching the Phang Nga coastline early Saturday and starting to head out to sea.

The track of the storm was quite easy to follow on the real-time radar maps which differed from a lot of the official forecasting which got a lot of the details wrong.

Pabuk’s track west, instead of heading in its north-west trajectory, helped the tourist islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao doge a weather bullet. Large numbers of tourists were hunkered down for 24 hours in heavy rains, unable to leave as airports were closed and ferry services were cancelled.

Kittipop Roddon, the Koh Samui district chief, says,”there were no casualties, there is some sunshine today and I’m confident some tourists will be able to leave today as ferries and flights resume.”

“It’s all over. All 10,000 tourists are safe. I am relieved.”

The storm was officially downgraded early today to a tropical depression with wind speeds slackening as it moved into the Andaman Sea, according tot he Thai Meteorological Department.

According to AFP, around 200,000 people were left without power as dozens of electricity poles were toppled by high winds or falling trees, mostly along coastal areas of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Pabuk, a rare, unseasonal tropical storm, struck in the south’s peak tourist season causing a blow to the local tourist economy.

Thailand recorded 37 million+ visitors (still awaiting the official numbers) for 2018 and is predicting over 40 million tourists for 2019 in what some describe as Thailand Teflon Tourism. Despite military coups, bombings and the tragic sinking of a tour boat last year killing 47 Chinese tourists off Phuket, the numbers of visitors continues to surge.



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Krabi. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Bangkok

Government considers blanket alcohol bans on April 13

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Government considers blanket alcohol bans on April 13 | The Thaiger

There’s a 24 hour ban on alcohol on the weekend preceding AND the actual election weekend this month. And next month is Songkran with the Government mooting possible blanket bans on Songkran day, April 13.

This year the Government says they want an alcohol ban on the biggest annual holiday for Thais. It’s also part of the week when there is a huge rise in road accidents and road-related deaths each year.

The Department of Disease Control is lobbying the government to suspend alcohol sales from April 13, the actual Thai new Year day, in an effort to reduce the annual road carnage.

The department’s deputy director says the agency will formally submit the proposal to the cabinet next week.

The department cites the annual figures for Songkran, saying that most drink/drive cases take place April 13, the first day of the New Year festivities. The department is dismissing concerns the measure could damage the economy, which depends heavily on tourists and revellers, saying that saving lives is paramount.

“The economy doesn’t rely on a single day,” according to the department’s deputy director.

Government agencies traditionally roll out their ‘seven dangerous days campaign’ each Songkran, setting up checkpoints along major roadways and arterials, cracking down on drink/driving and speeding and, generally, huffing and puffing about the need to curb the toll. But none of the campaigns in the past have done anything to stem the tide of a rising road toll each year.

Last year the government even speculated a total ban on allowing people to ride in the back of pick-ups during Songkran – a move that was quickly quashed by an outcry on social media.

There is already a raft of measures to precent the consumption of alcohol during Songkran, such as banning sales of alcohol at popular locations for water fights. These prohibitions have been widely ignored with little enforcement.

Government considers blanket alcohol bans on April 13 | News by The Thaiger

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Koh Samui

31 year old British man stuck in Koh Samui hospital

The Thaiger & The Nation

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31 year old British man stuck in Koh Samui hospital | The Thaiger

by Jane Tyler – Birmingham Mail PHOTOS: Facebook/Liam Workman

Liam Workman, who bought a one-way ticket to Thailand to “start a new life” last December is now critically ill in a Samui hospital with brain injuries following an alleged a hit-and-run motorcycle crash.

Now relatives of Liam are desperate to raise at least £3,000 (125,000 baht) for medical treatment and fly him back home to the UK Midlands.

He was found unconscious and with head injuries on the roadside on Koh Samui.

His family said the 31 year old desperately needs to be moved to a “more advanced” hospital – but his travel insurer would not cover all the costs as he did not have a licence to ride the motorcycle.

Mr Workman bought a one-way ticket to Thailand at the end of December to “start a new life”, according to the story in the Birmingham Mail.

A cousin, Jade Scoular, says “He had travel insurance but they wouldn’t pay out because he didn’t have a licence to ride the moped (motorcycle) and didn’t have a return flight booked, which invalidated the insurance,” she said.

31 year old British man stuck in Koh Samui hospital | News by The Thaiger

Mr Workman’s Go Fund Me page HERE.

SOURCE: Birmingham Mail

For tips and warnings about riding motorbikes in Thailand read our Top 10 list HERE.

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Koh Samui

Kite protest as Samui airport’s neighbors demand more compensation

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Kite protest as Samui airport’s neighbors demand more compensation | The Thaiger

Ten neighbours living adjacent to privately owned Koh Samui airport, unhappy with compensation offers over the noise, have sent up a fleet of kites in protest to blockade the end of the runway.

Soldiers and police were called to Samui International Airport to sort out today’s protest.

Many of the airport’s neighbours have accepted the offer of 50 million baht apiece as compensation for putting up with the noise, rumbling of jets overhead and cracks in their walls, but some feel the persistent aggravation has a higher price.

When the kites went up near the end of the western runway around lunchtime today, the Samui Aeronautical Radio Centre called Borphut police for help. The police in turn phoned the Samui-based 45th Army Circle.

Troops arrived to find the kites still airborne and couldn’t initially talk the protesters into bringing them down. The residents demanded to talk to airport management.

When police and soldiers offered to arrange and mediate a formal meeting at the police station on March 14, the kites finally fluttered to earth.

Samui Airport is privately owned and operated by Bangkok Airways. Most flights to and from the island are operated by Bangkok Airways.

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