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Lessons from Sandy

That peace was shattered last week when Superstorm Sandy devoured the town, leaving behind a trail of damage and destruction that Lindenhurst hadn’t seen since Hurricane Gloria smacked the area in 1985.

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I grew up in a town called Lindenhurst, a relatively quiet suburb on Long Island’s southern shore located just inside Suffolk County’s border with Nassau. It’s an upper-middle class, family oriented neighborhood whose residents, for the most part, have all of their needs and wants met.

When I was a boy, my mother would take my brother and I down to the beach at Venetian Shores where we would go rollerblading and build sandcastles against a backdrop of sailboats bobbing up and down peacefully on the Great South Bay. That peace was shattered last week when Superstorm Sandy devoured the town, leaving behind a trail of damage and destruction that Lindenhurst hadn’t seen since Hurricane Gloria smacked the area in 1985.

But even that epic storm might pale in comparison to the scenes of de vastation left in Sandy’s wake.

The dichotomy of Upper and Lower Manhattan during Sandy. Photo: New York Magazine

Dozens were killed, millions of people across the east coast lost power, and fuel shortages became one of the primary effects of the storm, manifesting in long queues at Long Island gas stations which must have reminded some in the older generations of the 1973 oil crisis.

Over the hours and days that followed, I observed the moods of those who had rode out the storm through my various social media feeds. It seemed to shift from immediate relief, to growing frustration, to, eventually, hardened anger. Many gas stations were closed; those that were open had lines that extended for blocks, even during the wee hours of the morning.

Some people were even assaulted and arrested for cutting lines. This type of situation is not normally conducive for cooler heads to prevail. The cost of the damage will be in the billions. Now, while that will be a long-lasting effect, the reality is that in the coming days and weeks, normalcy will begin to come back. The power will come back on, people will rebuild their lives with the assistance of insurance claims, FEMA aid, or, short of that, charitable donations from nonprofits and individuals alike.

Generosity is one of America’s best traits. I did not personally experience Sandy’s wrath. I was in Cambodia, a country that is not immune to torrential rainstorms and flooding. It is a raw and untamed land with a past as dark and tragic as anywhere in the world. It is a country rife with the type of poverty that most Americans can only read about in newspapers and magazines.

A few weeks ago, I was in the Cambodian province of Kratie, a rural outpost filled with humid, dense jungle and fog covered mountains which conjures visions of Martin Sheen traversing the fictional Nung River in “Apocalypse Now.” I was visiting the family of a friend of mine in his “hometown.” Most Cambodians who live in Phnom Penh have a hometown in a province somewhere outside the capital. There’s no running water here. Electricity is sporadic. There are no gas guzzling automobiles, nor is there wifi or smart phones. When I showed my Samsung Galaxy to some of the young children in the village, they looked at it as if it was a moon rock. There is no toilet paper; not even a sprayer.

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Lessons from Sandy

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Tourism

Thailand welcomes first Finnair flight from Stockholm to Phuket

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Bangkok, 25 October, 2021 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) today welcomed the start of Finnair’s latest direct non-stop service from Stockholm to Phuket during the 2021-2022 winter season.

The welcoming ceremony was presided over by Mr. Piyapong Choowong, Phuket Vice Governor, and Mrs. Titiporn Manenate, TAT Executive Director for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East Region, as well as representatives from the tourism-related public and private sectors.

Mr. Piyapong Choowong, Phuket Vice Governor, said, “Finnair’s Stockholm-Phuket flight marks a milestone for the reopening of Phuket to international tourism, following the successful Phuket Sandbox programme, which was launched in July under well-planned health and safety precautions, and has now become a model for the reopening of other Thai destinations.”

Finnair will operate on the Stockholm-Phuket route from 24 October 2021-24 April 2022, starting with 2 flights per week. It will increase to 3 flights per week from 29 November 2021-17 April 2022.

Also, during this winter season, the airline will operate on the Stockholm-Bangkok route with 2 two flights per week from 22 October 2021 to 21 April 2022.

In addition, Finair will be operating from Helsinki, Finland, to Phuket and Bangkok, with 2-4 flights per week during November this year and March next year.

Mrs. Titiporn Manenate, TAT Executive Director for Europe, Africa and Middle East Region, said, “This latest Stockholm-Phuket flight also marks Finnair’s first non-stop service from Sweden to Thailand, allowing visitors from Sweden to escape winter and enjoy Thailand at its finest during the annual cool season. The flight also reiterates the airline’s confidence in Thailand as a destination.”

Sweden is Thailand’s largest source of visitors from the Nordic region. Also, Phuket is one of the most popular holiday destinations among the Swedish, whose spending per trip is averaged at 85,000 Baht per person and length of stay is 19 days.

Sweden and other Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway – are among the 46 approved countries and territories from where travellers may enter Thailand under the ‘Test & GO’ quarantine-free entry requirements from 1 November, 2021.

The post Thailand welcomes first Finnair flight from Stockholm to Phuket appeared first on TAT Newsroom.

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Tourism

More COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in Thailand from 16 October 2021

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Bangkok, 16 October, 2021 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide an update that more COVID-19 restrictions in the dark-red zone provinces have been relaxed while additional businesses and activities have been allowed to resume operations from today (16 October, 2021).

  • Restaurants and eateries, cinemas, theatres, shopping malls, sport stadiums, and public parks are now allowed to resume normal opening hours, but must close no later than 22.00 Hrs.
  • Convenience stores, fresh markets, and flea markets are now allowed to open for all types of goods with the opening hours extended for one hour longer or until 22.00 Hrs. All 24-hour shops must close nightly from 22.00-03.00 Hrs.
  • Day-care centres for elderly people are now allowed to resume operations.
  • Hotels, exhibition halls, convention halls, trade fair centres, or similar types of venues are now allowed to open for meetings, seminars, or other types of events and ceremonies up until 22.00 Hrs.
  • Shopping malls, shopping centres, community malls, or similar establishments can also open for meetings, seminars, or other types of events and ceremonies up until 22.00 Hrs., but must not hold any sales promotional activities and continue to close the amusement parks, water parks, and gaming centres.
  • Public parks, sports stadiums, gyms, fitness centres, and all types of venues for exercise can resume normal opening hours, but no later than 22.00 Hrs.

Meanwhile, gaming centres in shopping malls, shopping centres, community malls, or similar establishments that are not located in the dark-red zone province can now resume operations.

Curfew, Interprovincial Travel & Gatherings of people

To be in effect until 31 October, 2021, the night-time curfew in the dark-red zone provinces has been reduced from 6 to 4 hours, or between 23.00-03.00 Hrs.

Public and private organisations as well as people are still prohibited to organise any activities prone to the spread of disease, but the number of attendees has been increased for each zone. Dark-red zone: No gatherings of more than 50 people (from previously 25 people). Red zone: No gatherings of more than 100 people (from previously 50 people). Orange zone: No gatherings of more than 200 people (from previously 100 people).

Travel between dark-red zone provinces and other areas can resume normal operations but must apply social distancing measures.

Entertainment venues

All types of entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, and karaoke shops are to remain closed. However, the government mentioned that these businesses may undertake preparation to be ready for reopening.

Self-protective measures and distancing efforts

As usual, people nationwide are asked to continue abiding by the health and safety measures in place; such as, wearing a face mask at all times while outside of their residence, regularly washing hands with soap and water/cleaning alcohol, and avoiding unnecessary close contact with others.

TAT would like to remind all travellers to continue with D-M-H-T-T-A precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – alert application.

Thailand’s colour-coding system for COVID-19 control are in place for the following provinces:

23 (down from 29) Maximum and Strict Controlled Areas or dark-red zone provinces

Central Region: Bangkok and 22 other provinces: Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Ratchaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, and Saraburi; Eastern Region: Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Prachin Buri, and Rayong; Northern Region: Tak, and Southern Region: Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala.

Chanthaburi and Nakhon Si Thammarat have been moved up from red to the dark-red zone.

30 (down from 37) Strict Controlled Areas or red zone provinces

Central Region: Ang Thong, Chai Nat, Lop Buri, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Sing Buri, and Suphan Buri; Eastern Region: Sa Kaeo and Trat; Northern Region: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, Phitsanulok, and Phetchabun; Northeastern Region: Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Maha Sarakham, Nakhon Ratchasima, Si Sa Ket, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, and Udon Thani, and Southern Region: Chumphon, Phatthalung, Ranong, Satun, Surat Thani, and Trang.

Ang Thong, Lop Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Sing Buri, and Suphan Buri have been moved down from the dark-red to red zone, while Surat Thani has been moved up from the orange zone.

24 (up from 11) Controlled Areas or orange zone provinces

Northern Region: Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phayao, and Phrae, Sukhothai, Uthai Thani, and Uttaradit; Northeastern Region: Amnat Charoen, Bueng Kan, Buri Ram, Loei, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, and Yasothon, and Southern Region: Krabi, Phang-Nga, and Phuket.

Amnat Charoen, Buri Ram, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Sukhothai, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit, and Yasothon have been moved down from red to orange zone.

The post More COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in Thailand from 16 October 2021 appeared first on TAT Newsroom.

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