The island, located in Satun province, close to the Malaysian border and over an hour from the mainland, went into an enforced lockdown on Aug 9.
Koh Lipe remains entirely shut off to incoming or outgoing travel. No one is allowed to leave to go to the mainland, and there is an attempt to further discourage travel around the island itself using provincial public health authorities’ checkpoints and village-imposed quarantines.
This all adds up to zero tourism, zero work and extremely limited support which has created an inability for islanders to pay for electricity or basic food supplies.
Right now, Koh Lipe has over 460 families in dire need of food and staple items, including 300 sea gypsy families (together with those on the nearby island of Koh Adang), 90 Myanmar families and 70 Thai families.
Phuket companies have stepped in to help with this situation. Last week, 5 Star Marine in Phuket coordinated with Satun Pakbara Speedboat Club located in Satun. Whilst 5 Star Marine ordered and paid for supplies from afar, Satun Pakbara Speedboat Club was able to collect and deliver vital food packages to Koh Lipe directly using their own staff and boat.
There are also individuals and businesses located on Koh Lipe who are coordinating efforts on the ground there, ordering Makro deliveries, preparing, rationing and distributing relief packs. Family Song Bungalow on Koh Lipe are helping to distribute food, but are in need of donations towards the cause.
One Phuket will be fundraising to help support efforts in Koh Lipe. Set up with the goal of helping Phuket and the surrounding islands, they recognise the need to step up and take care of any island who needs help.
Andrea Edwards of One Phuket noted, “We have to take care of, and help each other get through these critical times. If we can help Koh Lipe then we will; firstly by stepping in now to make things easier for them now and secondly by supporting them when they are open again by visiting and helping them get back on their feet.”
Many people in Phuket have fond memories or some connection with Koh Lipe, having enjoyed a trip there, or it featuring on their bucket list. Whatever your association is, Koh Lipe is in dire need of help right now. Any efforts to assist those in need on the sister tourism island are much appreciated by making donations to One Phuket or Family Song Bungalow towards their efforts.
If you would like to donate towards the efforts of the Family Song Bungalow on Koh Lipe, or One Phuket, the details can be found on their respective Facebook pages.