This picture taken from a position near Sderot along the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip on November 4, 2023, shows fire and smoke billowing follwoing an airstrike by Israeli forces on the Palestinian enclave amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (Photo by YURI CORTEZ / AFP)
Two more Thai nationals are confirmed to have been killed in Israel, raising the Thai death toll to 34. An additional Thai is also reported to have been abducted, bringing the number of Thai hostages to 24. The number of injured remains at 19, according to the Thai Foreign Ministry.
No details are currently available about the two more who died or the additional hostage.
The ministry said that the latest number of Thais repatriated on specially arranged transport stands at 7,470, while the actual number of repatriated evacuees exceeds 8,000, with a number of them arranging their own flights.
The evacuation centre, at the David InterContinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, which was rented by the Thai embassy to accommodate Thai evacuees, has now been closed as the Thai Foreign Ministry has suspended chartered repatriation flights.
The ministry said, however, that Thai nationals who are still in Israel can contact the embassy in Tel Aviv if they need help by calling the embassy’s telephone numbers, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the 05-4636-8150 emergency number.
Meanwhile, Thais who have been contracted to work in Israel, but cannot travel there due to the ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas, have been seeking help from the government.
One of them, Prachak Phularb, told a Thai PBS reporter that that he had borrowed more than 120,000 baht to finance his travel to Israel to work, adding that he is paying about 8,000 baht for the mortgage on his house, which is currently let to a tenant.
He also said that he has rented a small room in a hostel with his two-year-old daughter, paying 3,000 baht per month. Even though he has been re-employed by his boss, his salary is not enough to cover all the expenses for each month, including debt repayment.
Another worker, Thaweesak Sukbantherng, said he was due to fly to Israel on October 12th to work, but has been stranded here without a job and is about 150,000 baht in debt, a sum which he borrowed to pay for his air fare and for other expenses.
Labour Permanent Secretary Pairoj Chotikasathien said the Labour Ministry had contacted several airlines, asking them to refund the air tickets booked in advance by the workers, and will seek approval from the cabinet to secure low-interest loans, not exceeding 150,000 baht, to help the indebted people.
For those who are unemployed, the Employment Service Department will try to find jobs for them, said Pairoj, adding that there are over 500 people in this category.