When the Australian government said the death toll from the cyclone was high, Thai media were quick to call it a hoax
The Australian government has confirmed that the death rate from the catastrophic cyclone in the South East is “extremely high” in Thailand.
The statement came after reports emerged that the cyclonic storm is now bearing down on the capital of Bangkok.ABC News reported that authorities were already dealing with record-breaking rainfall and a heavy storm surge, but the official death toll is still unclear.ABC Fact Check said the number of deaths reported had risen to around 5,000, and said that the exact number was still being investigated.
“This is not an official toll,” the ABC reported.
“The Thai government and the Australian Embassy in Bangkok have said that there is a significant number of fatalities, but that it is not yet clear whether or not the exact toll is high or low.”
The Thai capital’s mayor, Prawit Wongsuwan, issued a statement on Sunday saying that more than 100,000 homes had been destroyed, and that the capital was in a “state of emergency”.
Mr Wongsuyan said in the statement that it was “extremely difficult” to get more information about the number and death toll, and added that the situation was “very dangerous”.
“We need more information from the Australian authorities and from the Thai authorities,” he said.
“We cannot wait for the next day.”
The cyclone left a trail of destruction across the country, with the cyclones death toll now topping 30,000.ABC reporters in Bangkok said there was an outpouring of concern in the capital, as people began evacuating their homes.ABC reporter Kailana Wirathu tweeted that “a lot of people are evacuating, many have to be rescued”.ABC reporter Andrew Rau tweeted that the evacuation was taking place “in the middle of the night”, and that “it is a big task”.
“The roads are really slippery and we are trying to get out of there fast,” he added.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Information and Communications said there had been “no reported casualties”.
“There are reports that the storm may have caused serious damage to buildings and infrastructure, but there is no official information at this stage,” the spokesperson said.