Thailand resumes flights, ferry services as Storm Pabuk slows

A resident pushes his motorcycle through floodwater from Tropical Storm Pabuk on Friday, January 4, 2019, in Pak Phanang of southern Thailand. (AP)
Updated 05 January 2019
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Thailand resumes flights, ferry services as Storm Pabuk slows

  • The storm lost speed on Saturday and was downgraded to a depression as it moved off land
  • Over the past few days, more than 28,000 people have been evacuated into shelters across seven provinces

BANGKOK: Thailand resumed flights on Saturday to its southern provinces, as the first tropical storm in 30 years slowed and headed into the Andaman Sea, leaving behind a trail of homes damaged by fallen trees or blown-off roofs, and disrupted power networks.
Before tropical storm Pabuk hit land in Nakhon Si Thammarat on Friday, arriving from the Gulf of Thailand, airports had shut in the province and nearby Surat Thani and the holiday island of Koh Samui, with all flights canceled.
But on Saturday, the storm lost speed and was downgraded to a depression as it moved off land, weather officials said, although they maintained warnings of torrential rain and possible flash floods in nine provinces.
“The strong winds are forecast with waves up to 3 to 5 meters high in both the Gulf and in the Andaman Sea,” the Thai Meteorological Department said in a statement, urging ships to keep to shore and highlighting the risk of sudden water surges.
Bangkok Airways, which has a monopoly at the Koh Samui airport, resumed normal operations early on Saturday and added extra flights to assist stranded passengers.
The airports at Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani will resume operations at noon.
Most ferry services to Thailand’s southern holiday islands have resumed following suspension for the storm.
Over the past few days, more than 28,000 people have been evacuated into shelters across seven provinces, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said in a daily tally on Saturday.
Authorities have recorded just one death, after a fishing boat capsized in strong winds near the coast of Pattani province, leaving another of the crew missing, though four more were safe.
PTT Exploration and Production, a unit of state-owned PTT, said it expected to resume operations of oil rigs at Bongkot and Erawan, two of Thailand’s biggest gas fields in the Gulf of Thailand, on Sunday.
It had suspended operations there since Monday and brought staff inland.


At least 11 wounded in Somalia Al-Shabab claimed attack

Updated 23 March 2019
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At least 11 wounded in Somalia Al-Shabab claimed attack

  • Authorities have not said if there are any deaths in the attack
  • The extremist group is fighting against foreign influences which they see as heretic

MOGADISHU: At least 11 people were wounded when gunmen set off explosions and stormed government ministries in Somalia’s capital Saturday in an attack claimed by the Al-Shabab extremist group, police said.
“There can be others inside but we have so far collected eleven people wounded in the attack,” said Abdukadir Abdirahman Adan, director of the Aamin ambulance service in the capital Mogadishu.
Police say the assault began when two explosions were set off near the ministries of public works and labor.
Gunmen entered the buildings following the blasts.
“The security forces rescued many of the staff from the buildings and they are still engaging some gunmen who managed to enter the building after the blast,” said security commander Ahmed Adan.
It remained unclear if there were any deaths in the attack.
The attack was claimed by the Al-Shabab extremist group, which is fighting an armed insurrection in Somalia against what it sees as heretic and foreign influence.
Attacks that use a combination of bombs and gunmen have become a hallmark of the insurgents.
Earlier this month, at least 20 people died in an attack in Mogadishu which saw Al-Shabab extremists battling security forces for nearly 24 hours.
The group also claimed responsibility for a March 7 car bombing near a restaurant in the capital that killed four people.