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Embassy in Japan on standby to help evacuate Thais

The Thai Embassy in Japan has been on standby around the clock to help coordinate evacuations of Thai tourists who may be trapped by snowstorms, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Sek Wannamethee said the embassy had coordinated with concerned agencies to provide assistance to Thai tourists, stranded by snow storms at hotels and various resorts in Japan. The tourists were advised to stock up on food and drink to survive for at least three days, and avoid travelling this week, Sek said.

The embassy has opened a hotline on (++81 90) 4435 7812 for Thai tourists to seek help. Sek said many Thais had already called the number, adding the embassy was also coordinating via tour firms.

Tourists who visited without visas who may have to overstay the 15-day visa-free period because of the storm should contact the embassy promptly. A severe snowstorm sweeping across Japan has killed 19 people and left more than 1,600 injured, media and officials said yesterday, as the extreme weather sparked widespread transport chaos. The storm is now moving toward northernmost Hokkaido, Japan's meteorological agency said, warning of heavy snow, blizzards and avalanches as well as high waves along the northeast coast, which was battered by a quake-sparked tsunami almost three years ago.


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