Tropical storm traps dozens of Dutch in Thailand

Red Cross supplies heading to Thailand as tropical storm Pabuk approaches, 3 Jan 2019
Red Cross supplies heading to Thailand as tropical storm Pabuk approaches, 3 Jan 2019. (Photo: @RodeKruis / Twitter)

A massive tropical storm is set to hit Thailand on Friday. The Thai weather service fears that it will be the strongest storm in 30 years and expects waves of up to 7 meters high, gusts of over 100 kilometers per hour, heavy rainfall and tidal waves. Hundreds of tourists, including some 40 Dutch, are trapped on the Thai islands, NOS reports.

Over the past days tens of thousands of tourists fled the islands of Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, which are expected to be in they of the storm. But not everyone managed to reach the mainland on time. The ferry services were halted due to the high waves and all flights to and from the islands have been canceled. 

The ANWB's alarm center received around 40 calls from Dutch who are stuck in the area, a spokesperson said to NOS. "We advise people to listen carefully to the local authorities and follow their instructions", the spokesperson said. "We can do nothing now but wait and hope that it is not too bad."

The Red Cross already made preparations in the area. "We supplied four aid stations with medicines and relief supplies such s food clothing and blankets", a spokesperson for the Dutch branch of the aid organization said to the broadcaster. "If necessary, we can start immediately."

The storm is expected to move over the east coast of Thailand on Friday, and to continue on land to the west coast on Saturday. Due to the Christmas holidays there are many tourists currently in Thailand.