PM orders Foreign Ministry to closely monitor storm Sandy, help Thais

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BANGKOK, Oct 31 — Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday said she has ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to closely monitor the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as New York City and the eastern United States struggles with flooding and massive power outages.

Ms Yingluck said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would contact the Thais living in New York and nearby areas regarding what assistance they may need.

She said the government has closely coordinated with the US authorities.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of Information Deputy Director-General Damrong Kraikruan earlier said that said there are some 30,000-40,000 Thais living in New York City and 10,000 in nearby areas which could be affected by the hurricane.

He said the Thai Consulate-General in New York City has informed Thai nationals to follow the recommendations from the US authorities and to continue to monitor the situation.

Several Thai tourists were unable to return to Thailand due to flight cancellations and the Consulate-General in New York City is providing assistance.

Monster storm Sandy has left New York but transport systems in New York and New Jersey were crippled and expected to stay that way for days.

More than 8.1 million US homes and businesses were without power on Tuesday after Sandy tore down power lines and flooded electrical distribution systems.