Tourism News

Tourism News Phuketwan Tourism News
facebook recommendations


Sign up now for our News Alert emails and the latest breaking news plus new features.

Click to subscribe

Existing subscribers can unsubscribe here


Tsunami warning sign photographed at Nai Harn beach on Tuesday. Whose responsibility is it, five years on,  to upgrade the tsunami signs?

TSUNAMI ALERT: Evacuation for Andaman, Phuket

Wednesday, April 7, 2010
PHUKET beaches were being evacuated today amid a tsunami alert, the local director of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Sam Jantawong, told Phuketwan at 6.30am this morning. He said that if there is a tsunami, it would arrive at 7am.

All the Andaman provinces were in the process of evacuation, Thai news reports said.

The Governor of Phuket, Wichai Praisa-ngob, was on his way to Patong from Phuket City at 6.40am.

Resorts were taking care of their own evacuations, Khun Sam of the DDPM told Phuketwan. A worried telephone call came from a staffer at the Impiana Resort Phuket, which is on the beach in Patong.

Phuketwan reporter Chutima Sidasathian reached Patong Hill on the ascent from Phuket City before being brought to as halt by a police road block and a crowd of about 100 people who were waiting to see if the tsunami came.

Tourists were seen carrying their bags away from the beach. Phuket has about 40,000 resort and guesthouse rooms, mostly in the danger zone along the west coast.

Khun Chutima reported that many people said first reports of the alarm for the evacuation had come from the television, not from local officials.

Early reports indicated that it was a false alarm - but an alarm that provides the most accurate indication yet of the state of preparedness of the Andaman coast and Phuket for a second tsunami.

Several alarms have occurred since the 2004 tsunami but this was the first time the alert has reached Level Three, when an evacuation is ordered.

Phuketwan has regularly questioned the preparedness of local authorities for just such an alert.

In a previous alert that reached Level Two, prepare to evacuate, the Andaman coast was on standby. But the residents of the Phang Nga village of Nam Khem, hard-hit in 2004, went ahead with their own evacuation.

Phuketwan was alerted to the tsunami alarm by American researcher Robert Fogarty, who telephoned about 6.20am to say he had had a call from his professor that a tsunami alert had been issued.

Mr Fogarty is on Phuket comparing the legacy of the 2004 tsunami with the legacy from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.

Today's alert followed a massive earthquake that rocked Sumatra, the same region battered just last year. The quake measured 7.8, according to the US Geological Survey, and triggered a local tsunami alert. It struck at a depth of 46km in Northern Sumatra, about 5.15am.

The quake was centered 127 miles west-northwest of Sibolga and was at a depth of 28.6 miles, the USGS said.

In December 2004, a magnitude 9.15 quake off the coast of Sumatra's Aceh province triggered an Indian Ocean tsunami that killed about 226,000 people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and nine other countries.
Thailand's Tsunami Legacy Haunted by Mistakes
Photo Album Over five years, the process of identifying nameless victims of the tsunami has represented a remarkable achievement. But ID flaws haunt the end game.
Thailand's Tsunami Legacy Haunted by Mistakes

Thailand Tsunami: Did 2800 More Die Near Phuket?
Update Five years on, the final tally of Thailand's tsunami dead remains elusive. Was their double counting, with some Missing and Dead actually being counted twice?
Thailand Tsunami: Did 2800 More Die Near Phuket?

Tsunami ID Cremation Mix-ups Trouble Families
The return of the wrong bodies to families of some tsunami victims is believed to be making the highly praised Thai Tsunami Victim Identification process even more complicated. PHOTO ALBUM
Tsunami ID Cremation Mix-ups Trouble Families

Tsunami Forensic Team Goes Unpaid: Is it the End?
Photo Album The noble global initiative to identify as many of the 2004 tsunami victims as possible in Thailand may be collapsing amid lack of funds and debate about how the process should end.
Tsunami Forensic Team Goes Unpaid: Is it the End?

Human Bones Add to Great Tsunami Mystery
Photo Album Human bones surface to add to the mystery of the 2004 tsunami. Can the final pieces ever be put together? Or did early mistakes make closure difficult for some families?
Human Bones Add to Great Tsunami Mystery

The Tsunami Toll One Year Later
The toll of the Indian Ocean tsunami is still misreported because of discrepancies that Phuketwan reporters discovered 12 months after the event. Here's what they wrote in 2005.
The Tsunami Toll One Year Later

Bodywork: How Tsunami Victims Reclaimed Names
The work by international police created the greatest forensic detective saga in history. Here is a report from the first 100 days.
Bodywork: How Tsunami Victims Reclaimed Names

Water and Fire: A Tsunami Reunion
The poorest unidentified victims of the tsunami in Thailand are the ones who still have yet to be reunited with relatives. Here from 2007 is a report of one such reunion.
Water and Fire: A Tsunami Reunion

'That's My Mum' as Tsunami Victims Remember
Photo Album Tears flowed, memories flooded back, and the world shared a moment's memory of a day that will never be forgotten along the Andaman's tsunami coast.
'That's My Mum' as Tsunami Victims Remember


Comments have been disabled for this article.

Friday February 23, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


Facebook Twitter