The residents massed in front of Phuket Provincial Hall at 3pm, shouting anti-Governor slogans and carrying placards heavily criticising the lack of action by officials to solve the water shortage situation.
Among the slogans being shouted and the messages such as, “People are having terrible problems getting water. When will the problem be solved? Where is the Phuket Governor?”
Other placards read, “People don’t have water to use… Help!” and “Any officials to take responsibility to look over people’s terrible problems?”
Other messages specifically targetted the Phuket Governor, Phakaphong Tavipatana: “Enough! Has the Phuket Governor opened his eyes to see the world or get outside to see?”
Other messages were more forceful, including, “What will the Government do with a Governor that does not listen to people’s problems”, and “Phuket people are brave and the Governor should not be a coward”.
Patiphanee Thanomsak, one of the residents protesting today, said, “We have not had enough water to use since March 21. We have spent all our money on buying water.
The residents are all from the Ua Arthorn (“Mercy for others”) housing estate in Baan Kuku, Ratsada.
The housing estate was built by the National Housing Authority specifically for low-income earners. The estate comprises 16 buildings, each with 44 units, and is hence home to more than 700 households.
Ms Patiphanee explained, “We have a central fund that has has accumulated over many years and had reached about B700,000.
“More than 1,000 people live in the estate have not had mains water since March 21, and now all that money has been used to buy water,” she said.
“We can’t take this anymore. I want the Phuket Governor to help us and do something. That’s why we are here at Phuket Provincial Hall,” Ms Patiphanee explained.
Phuket Governor Phakaphong presented himself to the group after they had been protesting for about 35 minutes.
“We are holding a meeting right now here at Provincial Hall about solving this problem and figuring out a way for you all, with Somsawat Chaisinsorn, Director of Phuket Provincial Irrigation Office, and Graisorn Mahamad, Chief of the Phuket office of the Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) and municipality officials,” Governor Phakaphong said.
“The situation will get better,” he assured.
“You will have water to use soon. Please hold on,” he said, before returning to the meeting.
Phuket Governor Phakaphong this morning at the press conference he had called to speak about the water supply situation in Phuket was at pains to repeat his message that Phuket is not suffering a drought.
“We are able to manage the water so there is enough for the people,” Governor Phakaphong assured.
Governor Phakaphong this morning also expressed his concern for the image of the ongoing water shortages being presented in the media.
“If media presents information that is beyond the facts, then that can lead to our tourism image being affected. It does not look good, so we are willing to explain and extend the information available,” he said. (See story here.)