I am based in Phuket, Thailand, and as you are aware, we are dealing with difficult times. While we are all concerned with the terrible nature of what has happened throughout the Indian Ocean, we also have to be concerned with our own realities.
The latest reporting from all Italian newspaper on the situation in Phuket is not only inaccurate, but false. All journalists standing on a patch of rubble are saying “this is the devastated island paradise of Phuket. They will not show that apart from the immediate beachfront on some of the beaches, the rest of the island including hundreds of hotels and guest houses, is operating normally. The 98% of the land, business and residential houses in the island are untouched by the tsunami.
This doesn?t means that everything is perfect, the majority of deaths and devastation is outside the island: Kao Lak, ( 100 Km north of Phuket) Phi Phi island and Phang Nga ? Krabi area(120 Km north east of Phuket ).
Today January 2nd, the beaches and main road touched by the tsunami in Phuket are clean, the hospitals are working with an average number of in-patients, the main hotels damaged are already repairing all the damaged areas. There are also hundreds of small shops and restaurant in front of Patong beach working 24 hours to re-open the activity within 30 days.
Thousands of Thai people have been put out of work; in many cases have lost friends and families.
The irresponsible, totally inaccurate and false coverage of the situation in Phuket is a major contributing factor in causing thousands of cancellations of booking in perfectly good hotels, and there bye making sure that apart from the people who have lost all, and who could have been given some employment, vast numbers of others could lose their jobs unnecessarily. The obsession of the Media with death and destruction is doing immense damage to the living.
Watchers and readers in Italy, who have called me have received a totally false image. Please try to rectify this situation and get your people on the ground to provide an accurate picture of the situation in Phuket. Many of us have businesses here and friends, family and staff who do not need to be hurt gratuitously.
Likely your people continue to broadcast from Phuket because you have the facilities and probably because it?s safe and comfortable here. If the real situation does not start to get some coverage, it may not continue to be so safe.
If some of your reporter on site is interested to contact me directly I will be very happy to give them a deep overview of the other side of the medal with a positive perspective of the future in Phuket and other areas in Thailand.
I look forward to your comments.
Gian Carlo De Cesare
Italian Resident in Phuket
?former Italian Honorary Consul Italian Embassy and Director of the Thai Italian Chamber of Commerce.