Kind locals helped hundreds of starving cats on a Thai tourist island devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The concerned residents prepared food on bowls for the abandoned stray moggies in the famous Phi Phi Islands – where the Leonardo DiCaprio movie ‘The Beach’ was filmed.
When the island ceased to accept tourists, many workers lost their jobs and decided to leave the place to return to their home provinces with some of them being forced to leave their pet cats.
To help keep the cats survive, the locals have been paying from their own pockets for food for the animals since the pandemic struck the country in March last year.
Suda Klinchuen, one of the local organisers of the stray feeding program, said: ‘When the pandemic started, many lost their jobs and decided to leave. For some reason, they could not travel with their cats so the pets were abandoned.
‘They expected that the pandemic would be over soon but no one thought it would drag this long. We hope they could return so they could be with their pets.’
Thailand has recorded 1,322,519 Covid-19 cases and 13,511 deaths as of September 8.
Economists said that it could be another five years before the country’s tourism industry returns to pre-pandemic levels.
Two years ago tourism made up an estimated 21 per cent of Thailand’s GDP, generating 1.8 trillion baht in revenue. However, the country’s National Economic and Social Development Council predicted that it could be another five years before similar numbers are seen.
Analysts said that between now and 2026, around seven million workers will continue to be affected by the economic harm from the Covid-19 pandemic.