Nakhon Phanom: The families of Thai workers in Israel have appealed to local authorities to help bring their loved ones home, saying they are being forced to work despite the conflict escalating.
Among them was Yupin Thongdeenok, 30, who went to the provincial emergency centre to beg authorities to secure the return of her 35-year-old sister-in-law, Jaruwan Chantawong.
According to Ms Yupin, her sister-in-law is among 50 Thai workers, mostly from the Northeast, now taking shelter in a workers’ camp in Tel Aviv.
Of the 50, she said 10 are natives of Nakhon Phanom province.
“This group of workers was told to go and work despite living in a dangerous conflict area, but they refused to,” she said.
Their employer threatened to sack them, but they insisted on remaining in the shelter as they could hear shelling and shooting outside.
Ms Yupin said electricity at the workers’ camp was also cut, and their food supplies were dwindling.
According to Ms Yupin, her sister-in-law has worked as an agricultural labourer in Israel for more than four years.
Nopporn Mana, the provincial labour chief, said the number of families seeking help for Thai workers in Israel stood at 50 and five families have lost contact with their relatives.
It is estimated that more than 2,100 Nakhon Phanom residents are employed in Israel — with about 330 of them living near conflict areas, according to Mr Nopporn.
The provincial authorities have set up a centre to help the workers and monitor the situation in Israel, he said, adding that the evacuees will receive full compensation under labour protection law and the government’s policy.
The second and third groups of Thai workers, 119 in total, were scheduled to return home from Israel on Friday and Sunday, following the first group of 15 which arrived on Thursday.
As arranged by the Thai embassy in Israel, the second group of 19 workers, all of them men, departed Tel Aviv on board El Al Airlines Flight LY085 at 4.30am local time on Friday.
The flight was scheduled to land at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province at 5.15pm on Friday.
Kanchana Patarachoke, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said on Friday that the third group of 100 Thai workers, also all men, would arrive home from Israel on Sunday.