Two Hundred Maldivians Stranded In Bangkok Amid Protests

Two Hundred Maldivians Stranded In Bangkok Amid Protests

Almost 200 Maldivians are stranded in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, after thousands of anti-government protesters occupied two of the city’s airports, the Maldives’ Minister of Civil Aviation and Communication confirmed on Sunday.

Addressing press, Dr Mohamed Jameel said he believed 193 Maldivians had been unable to leave the city but said they were being accommodated and were not stuck at airports.

But he acknowledged there may be a “slight vary” in the figure after saying he had obtained the numbers from a Maldivian businessman in Bangkok when questioned by press on the reliability of his source.

Thai protesters have been in Suvarnabhumi international airport since Tuesday and Don Mueang domestic airport since Wednesday.

The figure estimated by the government includes the Maldives’ under-17 cricket team, Jameel said.

Jameel has also said no Maldivians have been injured in the protests and reassured the public that Thai authorities were ensuring visitors received accommodation.

The Thai government has said it will spend some $30 million over the next month to help stranded tourists, including giving them free hotel rooms and daily expenses, according to reports by the BBC.

And Jameel has said he held a meeting on Sunday with Airline representatives from Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Srilankan Airlines and Bankok Airways.

Representatives have agreed to endorse the tickets of other airlines to transfer Maldivians.

If the Maldivians are unable to fly from any airport in Bangkok, they will be transferred to Phuket or Utapau, and transported from Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Silk Air.

Cricket Board of Maldives Chairman Ahmed Hassan Didi said the team of seventeen players and two officials who were scheduled to depart on Friday were stuck in the city.

“They are in Bangkok from two weeks ago...We are hoping that they can fly on Wednesday,” he told Minivan News on Sunday.

Maldivian businessman Abdul Qani, 35, said he had faced a big loss financially as a result of the disruption to his return.

“I came here to buy stock for my shop...Now I am stuck here, stock is in the airport. I am afraid, if the stock clears there would not be anything left in the shop,” he said on Sunday.

Even though the Thailand government has provided accommodation and allowance for food, he said, extra costs were adding up day by day.

“It is now fifth day,” he said. “I wonder what the government is doing”.

A sixty-eight businessman, who did not want to be named, said he had had to borrow from someone else as he had not budgeted for the extra time.

“I did not expect something like this from Thailand,” he said.

Source: Minivan News

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