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A couple hug after being rescued by the Royal Thai Navy from offshore islands. Two vessels arrived back last night north of Phuket

BBC Shock for Phuket; Torrent Sinking Phuket Tourism, Aircraft Carrier to Rescue

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Phuketwan PhuketWATCH

A daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective, plus relevant reports from national and international media.

THAILAND'S tourist holiday islands are being tormented today by a tsunami torrent from the skies. As well as causing extensive mainland flooding, continuous downpours have pounded the usually sunny Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman coast non-stop for a week, putting Thailand's island tourism underwater and costing tourism operators millions of baht.

PHUKET, Samui, Koh Tao, the Similan and Surin islands continue to be dumped upon relentlessly today, with no relief in sight.

bangkokpost.com The navy has sent the aircraft carrier Chakri Naruebet and two frigates to lead relief efforts in the South as more storms aggravate the flood crisis in many areas. The carrier is expected to arrive at Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand this morning to help evacuate tourists and local people by small boats and Seahawk helicopters. Frigates will lead the mission in evacuating tourists from Similan and Surin islands in the Andaman Sea.

straitstimes.com Thousands of tourists have been left stranded on Samui as relentless showers pounded south Thailand, shutting off access to the island and wreaking havoc on many other towns. Meteorology officials warned that Thailand is set to experience more unseasonal weather patterns this week which could cause more floods, rough seas, storms and cold temperatures.

bangkokpost.com At 1.55pm, Bangkok Airways flight PG 103 took off from Suvarnabhumi airport with passengers bound for Samui but was not able to land and had to return to Bangkok. The National Disaster Warning Centre forecast is for more heavy rain through Thursday or Friday.

itar-tass.com About 600 Russian tourists are stranded on Samui, where bad weather has disrupted the airport operation, the Association of Russian Tour Operators said. There may be about 600 Russian tourists on Phuket, the association said. Tourists ''must be careful and constantly carry their ids and phone numbers of the Russian embassy,'' the Federal Tourism Agency said.

ukpa The airport on Samui Island has suspended services indefinitely because roads surrounding it are flooded. Hundreds of travellers, mostly foreigners, had to stay at the airport.

guardian.co.uk I'm more interested in cutting-edge campaigning journalism, so I'm watching 'Thailand: Tourism and the Truth - Stacey Dooley Investigates' (BBC3). The Luton shop assistant turned investigator of human rights abuse is getting beneath the gloss of the glossy holiday brochure on the holiday island of Phuket. What she finds really isn't nice - brutal working conditions, Mickey Mouse wages, rats. And locals being forced away from the homes they've always lived in by the inexorable spread of tourism.

bbc.co.uk Pre-broadcast blurb: ''Stacey begins her trip in Phuket, where she stays as a tourist before swapping roles and becoming a hotel worker. She works as a chambermaid and struggles with the hard work and incredibly high standards, having to clean 14 rooms a day for just four pounds. She also discovers what it's like to live on such low wages and the sacrifices that some hotel workers have to make. Many live in slum conditions or in hotel dormitories, separated from their children for months.''

andrew-drummond.com The 22-year-old even got a Deputy PM to promise to take care of the sea gypsies, many of whom had their land taken from them after the tsunami. We should send Tracey out after the jet-ski scammers, the tuk tuk and taxi drivers et all. Well, er maybe not. But will this bring down hotel prices on this holiday island to be more commensurate with the owners' wages bills? Let's not bet on it.

3news.co.nz It has been nearly two months since the death of Sarah Carter in Thailand and her parents are still searching for answers. On February 2, Sarah Carter, Amanda Eliason and Emma Langlands flew in to Thailand on the final leg of their overseas adventure. They checked in at the Downtown Inn and shared a room - room 518. On their first night a woman across the corridor in room 516 died in her bathroom She was victim number four.

newstalkzb.co.nz The parents of a woman who died mysteriously in Thailand have set up a website to warn people of the very real dangers of visiting the country. Richard Carter says the website will go live in 7 to 10 days.

monstersandcritics.com A Burmese court granted Australian journalist Ross Dunkley bail upon his fifth request, Dunkley's lawyer said. The Kamaryut Township Court allowed Dunkley bail of $575, after previous attempts at gaining his release failed. Dunkley, 55, a co-founder of the Myanmar Times weekly newspaper, was arrested on February 10 on charges of violating immigration regulations.

afp Japan's leader said the government was on "maximum alert" as the spread of radiation raised concerns about the ability of experts to stabilise a nuclear power plant crippled by the massive tsunami following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

mcot.net Thailand will send two electricity generators to Japan to produce electricity to help offset power losses resulting in a shortage in Tokyo.

thephuketinsider.com As New York Met's fans wax poetically, there is always next year. But for now, the Phuket property scene, in broad terms, seems to have gone undercover at the moment. [Ed: Maybe that should read ''under water.'']

english.chosun.com A highly competitive, regimented education system focusing on exam grades means Korean youngsters fail to acquire proper social skills, a study suggests. The National Youth Policy Institute said Korea ranks 35th out of 36 countries when it comes to youngsters' capacity for social interaction. Thailand scored highest overall with 0.69 points, followed by Indonesia (0.64), Ireland (0.6), Guatemala (0.59), the UK (0.53) and Chile (0.52).

indiatimes.com Among the 16 countries reviewed for corruption in a report by Hong Kong-based business consultancy firm PERC, Thailand was rated at 11 with a scale of 7.55, followed by China (7.93) and Vietnam (8.3). Singapore was given a clean sheet with a score of 0.37, followed by Hong Kong (1.10), Australia (1.39), Japan (1.90) and US (2.39), putting them in the top five.

bernama.com AirAsia has no plans to impose a fuel surcharge although other airlines have taken such a move. "We don't want to deter travel and putting up cost," group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said . "So, our fares can stay where there are," he told reporters.

straitstimes.com Japan's earthquake and tsunami catastrophe has hit tourism in Bali, where officials said Chinese had overtaken Japanese in the second rank of visitor arrivals. ''Now Japan is the third country with the most incoming tourists, after Australia and China respectively,'' said Bali tourism agency head Ida Bagus Subhiksu.

afp Women drivers are "slow" at the wheel and "oblivious" on the roads, a Malaysian ruling party MP told parliament, prompting outrage among women's groups. "Some women drivers drive slowly and seem oblivious to traffic," Bung Mokhtar Radin was quoted as saying.

huffingtonpost.com Whether or not the oil spill had anything to do with the dead turtles now washing up on Mississippi beaches, people here simply want answers. They want their lives - and their ocean - back. They want it back the way it used to be.

Phuket Coming Events


MORE than 5000 runners from around the world are expected to test their mettle in the Laguna Phuket International Marathon on June 12, with Thai-German star Mario Maurer and contestants from the latest season of 'The Biggest Loser Asia' taking part.

IBAP with Indochine's Michael Ma as the guest speaker is at Indochine on April 8.

PHUKET Navy League is planning a free Independence Day event on Sunday July 3 from 10am to 7pm at Headstart International School, across the street from Makro, near Central Festival in Phuket City.

Unti March 31 Four days of traditional longboat races, Koh Panyee, Phang Nga
April 1 Turtle release, Banyan Tree seafront, Laguna Phuket
April 9-10 Phuket 'mini concert' to aid Japan
April 8-10 Phuket Bike Week, Patong
April 12-17 Phuket International Cricket Sixes
April 13-15 Songkran Festival
May New PPAO Hospital to open, Phuket City
June 12 Laguna Phuket International Marathon
June 23-26 Phuket Fun Fly paragliding, Nai Harn
July 20-24 Six Senses Phuket Raceweek
October Vegetarian Festival, Phuket
November 27 Laguna Phuket Triathlon
December 4 Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship, Laguna

Phuket Coming Events 2012

March 18-28 National Youth Games, Phuket
Phuket Coming Events 2014

Fourth Asia Beach Games, Phuket
Phuket Weather Torrent 'Wost in Memory'; Navy Saves Stranded
PHOTO ALBUM A monsoon depression over Phuket is not moving, so more record rain is likely. But the Royal Thai Navy has rescued tourists from outlying islands, and tourism authorities want to help.
Phuket Weather Torrent 'Wost in Memory'; Navy Saves Stranded

Weather Latest: Phuket's Navy to Rescue Similans Stranded
Latest Diving tourists have been trapped on the Similan islands in the latest unseasonal storms and a Navy frigate is on the way. But for those suffering cabin fever on Phuket, there is rescue.
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Phuket and Japan: Tata's Secret Reason for Love Aid
Latest Songstress Tata Young has a new man in her life - and an extra reason for wanting to help the victims of Japan's earthquake and tsunami. His name is Uke.
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Phuket Police Finger Ladyboy Dip at Gold Shop
Latest The golden touch of a ladyboy pickpocket is tarnished when a tourist picks back, spotting her/his portrait among police mug shots. ''Jenny'' does not have enough time to enjoy her stolen spoils.
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Phuket on 24-Hour Storm, Slips Emergency Alert
Latest Phuket is now on a 24 hour emergency watch with a budget of 50 million baht to spend if necessary as wild weather threatens more vessels at sea and landslips on island slopes.
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Phuket's Whacky Weather Takes Skye High
Latest High season for the yacht Isle of Skye means high and dry on a Phuket beach as the island's weird weather continues to play havoc with the plans of yachties and holidaymakers.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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PLEASE don't say tsunami!

Posted by Jamie on March 30, 2011 08:30

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I just watched the Stacey Dooley report last night and IMO it's a young, overly emotional and naive woman giving us a tourists view of tourism.

I guess it makes good television but instead of taking the guided tour she could have done some research first.

You can't seriously expect to get any sort of credible results after spending less than a week in a country.

All she had to do to find out what's really cooking is to read back PhuketWan for the past 6 months and she'd know where to look for some real issues to investigate.

Perhaps she could team up with local investigative journalists at her next location.

Posted by Chris on March 30, 2011 09:52

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Wake up Pukey, I laugh in your sorrow, BUT I got banned from commenting, so eat doo dah. Sum na naa. Print this ed?

Posted by grahamMM on March 30, 2011 10:02

Editor Comment:

We never ban anyone from commenting, graham, however we do occasionally ban people from reading Phuketwan.

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Agree with Jamie. The use of the phrase "tsunami torrent from the skies" is irresponsible and unnecessarily sensational and is disrespectful to those in Japan and the Andaman region who suffered from a real tsunami.

Posted by Alan on March 30, 2011 11:03

Editor Comment:

If the reports of a disastrous landslide in Krabi are correct, use of the word 'tsunami' is entirely appropriate. We fear we got it right.

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Well I suppose anyone who confuses a landslide with a tsunami can be forgiven for reporting unsubtantiated numbers missing in the rush to be "the first."

Posted by Alan on March 30, 2011 16:31

Editor Comment:

Tell us which numbers were unsubstantiated, Alan. We reported accurately what emergency services told us: that 1000 people were missing. It's sad that the fact that many people are now dead and the toll is likely to mount seems of secondary concern to those with points to make. We won't always be first, but good news and information sources aim to be fast and accurate, and caring.

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It's not for readers to justify the facts of an article. It's for reputable journalists to verify the facts from their sources, not rush off to be the first to report unfounded information. Did you consider the effect your banner headline and stories would have on incoming visitors, those already in Krabi and not least concerned families who have loved ones out there???

Posted by Alan on March 31, 2011 10:42

Editor Comment:

We reported what emergency service staff told us: that there were 1000 people missing. This is what journalists do. It would have been unprofessional for us not to report what was happening. We do not suppress or alter news to suit the tourism industry. We sent two reporters to cover the unfolding disaster. Other Phuket based sources relied on the telephone or connections with Bangkok partners to cover a major news event in a neighboring province. One even later distorted the truth to say there had been claims of ''thousands of missing,'' a gross exaggeration. Your concerns are unfounded.

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hi, will like to check in patong area is there any news about the flood.

Posted by eve on March 31, 2011 11:45

Editor Comment:

Phuket has had heavy rain for days, but it has eased today. Patong's new drainage system means it no longer has the serious floods it once did, although there has been so much water that some parts may have not coped perfectly.

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Lighten up guys..PW seems about the only credible news source for us Farangs...they admit their mistakes and can only go by what they have perceived or info from Thai sources..keep up the good work guys..goodonya

Posted by david on March 31, 2011 12:31


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