UK tourists are being warned to avoid southern parts of Thailand as a tropical storm makes landfall with the Southeast Asian country.
Tropical Storm Pabuk is expected to bring high winds, rainfall and surging seawaters, all of which could impact popular destinations Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued advice to British tourists, warning against all but essential travel to parts of the popular holiday destination.
What have to Foreign Office said?
The FCO issued the following statement ahead of the storm’s arrival.
“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to areas within the provinces on the Thai-Malaysia border, including: Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Southern Songkhla province.
“Our advice against all but essential travel does not include areas north of and including the A43 road between Hat Yai and Sakom, and areas north-west of and including the train line which runs between Hat Yai and Pedang Besar.
“Tropical Storm Pabuk made landfall on the southern coast of Thailand at 12:45 local time on 4 January 2019.
“This is affecting boat sailings and flights in affected areas, which may include Surat Thani (Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao), Chumporn, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phuket, Krabi, Trang, Ranong, Phang Nga, Satun and Song Khla, as well as Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat.
“You should check your travel plans with transport providers before leaving your hotel or home, follow instructions from local authorities and monitor weather warnings from the Thai Meteorological Department.
“You can also find advice on our Tropical Cyclones page. If you need to contact local emergency services, call 1155 (tourist police) or 1669 (emergency medical services).
“Consular support is not available in the parts of Thailand where we advise against all but essential travel. “
What have local authorities said?
Thai officials have issued strongly-worded warnings to those already staying in the areas in the path of the storm.
According to the Guardian one official said to local TV: “You can’t stay around here. These will be all razed down. Every monsoon, beachfront restaurants around here are damaged every year. But this time, we got a tropical storm coming. There won’t be anything left. Nothing.”
Authorities in the Nakhon Si Thammarat province announced over loudspeakers: “Anyone still inside. Please make noise and officials will help you out. You cannot stay here. You cannot stay here. It’s too dangerous.”