Nobody is being abandoned, says Sutin, as he lists problems evacuation operations face in Israel

One of the workers had a broken arm, while four had flu symptoms. So far, 254 Thai workers have been brought back to Thailand.

The Nation

The Nation



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October 17, 2023

BANGKOK – The 127 men and two women, along with a five-year-old child, were welcomed by Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang and Air Force chief-of-staff ACM Seksan Kantha.

All returnees underwent physical examination, immigration formalities and Labour Ministry procedures before taking buses to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute, where they were to be met by waiting relatives.

One of the workers had a broken arm, while four had flu symptoms.

So far, 254 Thai workers have been brought back to Thailand, including 15 in the first batch, 19 in the second and 90 in the third.

Rescue operations continue

Sutin said the Air Force has prepared five flights, and these combined with commercial flights, should bring some 6,000 Thais back to Thailand within October.

The defence minister said Thais are not being abandoned in Israel, but the government is facing challenges with the operation such as difficulties with flying into Israeli airspace and intensifying battle.

The government also has backup plans to send C130 aircraft or other means of travel to take Thais out of Israel, he added.

“We want to confirm that the evacuation of Thais in Israel is not slow,” he said.

Sutin added that the ministry was negotiating with Israel the option of opening safe zones and looking for Thai nationals who may have been stranded in risky areas.

Compensation for Thai workers

Phairoj Chotikasatien, the Labour Ministry’s permanent secretary, said his ministry has deployed officials to help Thai workers receive compensation under the fund for assisting workers overseas.

The fund will grant 15,000 baht to each worker as compensation for loss of work due to war, plus 30,000 baht will be given to those injured and 40,000 baht to the families of those killed, he said. Also, relatives of those killed will be given 40,000 baht to cover funeral expenses.

Meanwhile, he said, Israel will pay compensation based on each person’s injuries and disability after medical consideration.

For instance, he said, about 1.4 million baht will be given to workers whose injuries cover 10 to 19% of their body, while those with more injuries will receive their monthly salary for the rest of their lives.

He added that the spouses of deceased workers will receive 34,560 baht per month until they remarry, while children will be given 5,760 to 11,520 baht per month until they are 18 years old.

Santi Nantasuwan, deputy director-general of the Department of Employment, said workers can seek compensation under the fund for assisting workers overseas by submitting documents to provincial employment offices nationwide.

Required documents include copies of the fund membership card, passport, ID card, work permit and bank savings book, he said, adding that workers can call the department’s 1694 hotline for more information.

Living amid warfare

Chokchai Yongpho, 33, a Kalasin local who is a representative of Thai workers in Israel, said he suffered problems travelling to the airport from his home, which was less than 10 kilometres from the Gaza Strip.

He said he was happy to have returned to the safety of his home, adding that his fellow workers had to hide in workers’ camps to protect themselves from Hamas-led attacks.

He said he will not return to Israel, even though he had signed a contract to work at a tomato plantation there for a salary of more than 60,000 baht to cover his debts.

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