Tuesday, December 26, 2006

2004's Deadly Tsunami. Thailand Remembers And Mourns.

Thailand's Andaman Sea coastal provinces hit by an unprecedented tsunami on Boxing Day in 2004, held a memorial service Tuesday commemorating the disaster's second anniversary, the state media reports.

Tsunami smashed Thailand's five Andaman coastal provinces and killed over 5,000 people including foreign tourists.

Relatives of the dead -- including international visitors and local residents -- joined Buddhist religious ceremonies at Mai Khao Beach and Patong Beach in Phuket.

They gave food to monks and laid wreaths at the Wall of Remembrance for the tsunami victims at Mai Khao Beach, while 99 Buddhist monks conducted a ritual at Patong Beach.

Thailand's Tourism and Sports Minister Suwit Yordmanee said a candle lighting ceremony will be held Tuesday evening at a park on the Hadyao Beach where 200 people were killed by the tidal waves.

In the southern province of Phang-nga, memorial ceremonies were held at Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park and at the Thai maritime police patrol boat, Tor 813, which was carried far inland at Bang Niang in Takhu Pa district.

The police patrol boat was swept by the killer waves beyond the shore as far as two kilometres from the beach.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanond confirmed Monday that funds donated for the tsunami victims totalled Bt92 million (Bt100=RM10) have been under supervision of the Office of the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office.

The allocation of the funds can be checked, the prime minister affirmed, noting that his government has directed the agencies concerned to use all the monies appropriately.

Responding to requests from diplomats of seven countries asking for an examination of the disposition of the donated funds, national police spokesman Pol Lt-Gen. Achirawit Supanphesat said the total monies given to the tsunami body identification fund totalled Bt29 million and that now Bt24 million remains on hand.

Accounts of expenditures can be examined on request, the police spokesman said. (Bernama)
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