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Tourism Authority of Thailand

Giant waves triggered by Southeast Asian earthquake hits Thailand`s Andaman coast

Thailand was among the seven countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia sustaining widespread damage and destruction as a result of a giant underwater earthquake…

Thailand was among the seven countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia sustaining widespread damage and destruction as a result of a giant underwater earthquake , the epicentre of which was at latitude 95.7°E and longitude 3.4°N, just off the northwest coast of Sumatra in Indonesia and some 537 kilometres from Phuket.

Ripples triggered by the underwater earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale and aftershock sent massive waves and walls of water crashing into coastal towns and beach resorts lining the Andaman coast of Phuket island, as well as Krabi and Phang-nga on the adjacent mainland, Trang and Ranong further south and as far south as Hat Yai, Satun and Nakhon Si Thammarat. Khao Lak district in Phang-nga province was very badly affected.

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS COORDINATING CENTRE & WEB SITE

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established a 24-hour Co-ordinating Centre to provide information on tourists who are stranded, injured or missing.

The most updated reports are available on the following web sites: Ministry of Foreign Affairs www.mfa.go.th
Ministry of Public Health www.moph.go.th
Narenthorn Centre ems.narenthorn.or.th
PHUKET Approximately two hours following the earthquake just off the northwest coast of Sumatra on 26 December 2005, tremors lasting 5 to 10 minutes were felt in Phuket before giant waves rolled onto the shores of Phuket’s Andaman coast on the western side of the island at 10.00 a.m., inundating the lower floors of beachfront hotels and resorts, homes and buildings along the entire coastline. Roads were truncated resulting in severe traffic congestion. Sapan Hin in the city centre was under 1 – 2 metres of water.

Areas affected stretched from Bang Tao Beach, Kamala Beach, Patong Beach, Kata Beach, Karon Beach, Nai Harn Beach and Phuket Fantasea. Governor of Phuket, Udomsak Asvarangkul, declared a state of emergency as giant waves pounded the western coast of the island in succession resulting in the sudden inundation of coastal areas, injuries and loss of life, capsized boats and vessels lost at sea. On the eastern coast of Phuket island, giant waves washed over Rassada Pier as passengers were waiting to board ferries for Phi Phi Island.

NORMAL SERVICE RESUMES AT PHUKET INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Phuket International Airport is back in operation with flights landing at the airport in the afternoon and throughout the night.

Tourists and local residents have been evacuated to higher ground such as the hilL slopes of Khao Patong and Khao Karon. Seventy tourists stranded in Morakot Caves in Trang province have been rescued.

TAT OFFICES ON HIGH ALERT READY TO PROVIDE EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TO TOURISTS

The TAT Head-office and TAT Offices in the provinces of Southern Thailand are on high alert providing emergency assistance to tourists and will continue to closely monitor the situation.

TAT offices are also coordinating with embassies to assist family members and friends concerned about the welfare of stranded, injured or missing tourists, keeping them informed of the latest developments. TAT offices in the affected areas are sending regular updates to TAT offices worldwide.

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