Summary of Press Briefing
Monday, 9 October 2023 at 15.30 hrs.
Press Conference Room, MFA and via MFA Facebook Live
1. Mr. Jakkapong Sangmanee, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, held a press conference to provide updates on the meeting of the Rapid Response Center (RRC), which he chaired this afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in the Middle East and preparations for the evacuation of Thai nationals. Ms. Pannabha Chandraramya, Ambassador (Amb) of Thailand to Israel, among others, joined the RRC meeting via teleconference to provide updates on the situation and progress made by the Royal Thai Embassy in Tel Aviv (RTE) to assist Thai nationals.
2. Overview: volatile situation with ongoing violence and fighting, with an increasing number of injuries and fatalities, and at least 100 people of various nationalities, including Thai nationals, taken hostage.
3. Status of Thai nationals in Israel: 9 injured, 11 taken hostage and 12 fatalities (pending verification from Israeli authorities). 80 Thai students in Israel have not been affected thus far and have not registered for voluntary repatriation.
4. Evacuation of Thai nationals:
4.1. Amb updated that 1,437 Thai nationals have registered for voluntary repatriation and 23 Thai nationals have requested to remain in Israel (as of 09:00 hrs. Israel local time today).
4.2 The meeting discussed all options for evacuation, including via commercial airlines, aircraft deployed by the Royal Thai Air Force, and Thai Airways, which stand ready for the evacuation mission. RTE will contact Thai nationals who wish to be repatriated and coordinate their safe transfer to the meeting point for repatriation.
4.3 At present, a number of injured Thai nationals are fit for travel and there are Thai nationals who have been evacuated into safe zones. RTE will firstly repatriate 15 injured Thai nationals via El Al this Wednesday (11 Oct.) and then start repatriating other injured Thai nationals and those who are in safe zones.
5. Government measures
5.1 The Department of Consular Affairs has opened an additional 30 hotlines to the existing 30 hotlines, amounting to a total of 60 hotlines, for family members who wish to contact/locate their relatives in Israel. In addition, the Department of Consular Affairs has opened a LINE Openchat called “Request Assistance for Thai Nationals in Israel”, which can reach 5,000 people at once, and has opened a new Facebook page entitled “The Department of Consular Affairs is Concerned for our Thai Family in Israel” as another communication channel.
5.2 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will dispatch additional officials to protect and assist Thai nationals in Israel this week, while the Department of Information is organizing two press preferences per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, to provide regular updates.
5.3 The Ambassadors of Thailand in neighbouring countries have coordinated with relevant authorities on possible evacuation routes for Thai nationals and other assistance.
5.4 Once the repatriated Thai nationals have arrived in Thailand, the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and the Ministry of Public Health stand ready to assist with any physical and mental health or other concerns they may have.
6. In closing, the Deputy Minister reiterated that the Royal Thai Government and the Prime Minister of Thailand attach utmost importance to the safety and welfare of Thai nationals, and that relevant Thai agencies are coordinating their swift and safe repatriation.