The authorities of the main resort island of Phuket in Thailand went on full alert for further aftershocks after an earthquake hit the nearby resort province of Phang Nga on February 13. Meanwhile, foreign tour operators continue to actively offer package tours there.
According to Phuket News, the epicenter of the 3.7-magnitude earthquake was in Tambon Tha Na, Kapong district (Phang Nga province). Seismologists recorded tremors at approximately 2:43 p.m. No damage or casualties have yet been reported.
The earthquake was relatively shallow – the epicenter was at a depth of only four kilometers, the head of the Thailand Meteorological Department (TMD) Chomfari Chompurat said in an official statement. “If any additional details come to light, we will let you know immediately,” she said. Tourists and locals were advised to monitor developments through TMD’s Earthquake Monitoring Division or get news from the media.
Why are the authorities of Phuket on the alert? Phang Nga province is located next to the resort island, separated only by a narrow isthmus. Although earthquakes in Phuket are rare, the risk of tourists encountering them remains. So, the last tremors were recorded in Phuket in 2015: in May, a series of six earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.5 to 4.6 on the Richter scale occurred on the island. But this power is enough to destroy nearby resorts and settlements, and wipe hotels and villas off the face of the earth. Then, due to the Klong Marui fault, located east of Phuket, the last earthquake that hit the area occurred near the island of Yao Yai – the largest of Phuket’s “neighbors”. Therefore, Phuket may also suffer now, because the epicenter of the last earthquake was located near it – in Phang Nga province.
Background: Phang Nga Province is located in southern Thailand and along the Andaman Sea. It borders the provinces of Ranong, Surat Thani, and Krabi, to the south, across a narrow strait, and is the popular island province of Phuket.