Heavy toll on people after border closure

Heavy toll on people after border closure

Passenger boats moor at a pier in Nakhon Phanom's Muang district. Boat services across the Mekong river between Thailand and Laos in Nakhon Phanom have come to a halt after the border was closed.
Passenger boats moor at a pier in Nakhon Phanom's Muang district. Boat services across the Mekong river between Thailand and Laos in Nakhon Phanom have come to a halt after the border was closed.

NAKHON PHANOM: The closure of all border checkpoints in this northeastern province has taken a heavy toll on local people of various occupations, who have called on the government to help them.

Four checkpoints in Muang, Ban Phaeng, Tha Uthen and That Phanom districts have been temporarily closed since Sunday night by the governor's order in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Supakkorn Suparangkul, 49, acting chairman of the province's Passenger Boat Association, said the closure order has strongly affected operators of boats plying the Mekong River linking Thailand and Laos.

The port areas in the Nakhon Phanom Municipality, once vibrant with tourism-related businesses and activities, are now very quiet. Only vehicles transporting goods are allowed to cross the border via the 3rd Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge linking Nakhon Phanom and Khammouane province of Laos.

Vendors, porters and all manual workers are out of job. Since they were not prepared for the situation, they have run out of money for sustenance, Mr Supakorn said.

If the closure continues beyond April, they will be heavily indebted and small businesses would collapse, worsening the situation, he warned.


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