Day 10 — the long haul

In Khao Lak, some 100 km north of Phuket, where the disaster struck hard, clearing of rubble of hotels and private hotels go on.
     But life in Phuket is fast returning to normal, reports Asger Westh of the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten.
     “Speedboats, yachts and tourists swimming in the sea again enjoy Patong Beach,” Asger Westh writes, adding that a Danish bar owner in the area expect new hotels damaged by the flood to open up in less than half a year.
     On the beach, a vendor is selling a pirat video with footage of the disaster.
     “I’ll punch you if you by one and bring it in here,” Asger Westh quotes the barowner who like the other Danes in the bar Port of Antwerp prefer to remain anonymous.
     The Dane is quite convinced that the tourists will soon return to Patong. Quite a few of the Danish tourists preferred to stay and there are daily new arrivals.

Another six persons have now been taken off the Danish list of missing persons. The list is now down to 60 persons. The revised lists is on

A simple but beautiful ceremony was Monday held on the tarmac of Phuket airport before the first six deceased Swedish victims covered by Swedish flags were carried on board a Hercules transport plane to be flown back to Sweden.
     The Swedish priests Lennart Lindgren from Skellefteaa in Sweden and Lennart Hamark, the Scandinavian Church in Bangkok, performed the ceremony.

Tuesday morning, the revised list of missing Norwegians was down to 91 Norwegians following the publication of the list on Monday. The police asks all who have information of any of the persons on the list to call +47 23 20 87 00. The updated list will continuously be available on . A list with photos of many is published on

New Swedish figures released on Monady shows that 827 Swedes are now confirmed missing after the disaster. 697 are mising in Thailand.
The new figures are:
Dead: 52
Confirmed missing: 827
Otherwise unaccounted for: 1495
Country break down oif missing:
Thailand 697
Sri Lanka 23
Indien 11
Indonesien 7
Malaysia 2
Burma 1
Borneo eller Thailand 1
Not known 85

Finnish authorities have gathered DNA samples from the relatives of dozens of Finns still missing in the earthquake and tsunami disaster areas of South and Southeast Asia, Chief Inspector Tero Haapala of the National Bureau of Investigation (KRP) told the Finnish News Agency (STT) on Tuesday.
     In addition to the DNA samples, police have been rounding up medical records and dental charts.
     Inspector Haapala refused to comment whether KRP has identified more dead than the 15 Finns already confirmed.
     Official reports by KRP disaster victim identification teams say 13 victims have been identified in Thailand, one in Sri Lanka and another in Finland.
     Transport of the bodies back to Finland is still being prepared. As a result of the difficulties in identifying bodies, there is no set schedule for the transports.
     Compiled by the National Bureau of Investigation, the latest list of Finnish citizens missing in the disaster area included 183 names.

A Danish Hercules transport plane in Thailand is performing minor transport tasks before “in a few days” it will bring home the caskets with deceased Scandinavian victims.
     About 75 Danish tourists who had earlier said they didn’t want to leave Thailand, changed their minds after talking to Danish psychologists and flew aboard the Hercules transport from Phuket to Bangkok Tuesday to catch further flights to Denmark.
     The Hercules also picked up the casket carrying the only deceased Dane who has been identified, still left in Thailand.
     In the next few days the Danish Hercules transport plane will be filled with the caskets of deceased Scandinavians, but exactly when the victims will be returned to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland is, as yet, unknown.
     “We hope we can identify more Danish victims before that flight,” the English language Danish paper Copenhagen Post ) quoted Per Jens from the Danish national police.
     “At the same time we are concerned with the grieving relatives at home, so we have to evaluate whether we should wait on the identification of additional Danish victims or fly home now with the victims we have,” he said.
     Monday night, another Danish Hercules was on the way to Indonesia with water purification equipment, generators and other supplies.

Iceland, the smallest of the Nordic country, was fast in its reaction to the disater. On 27 December, the government of Iceland send a plane with needed supplies in response to the Thai givernment’s request. The plane was the first flight to bring in aid supplies and it arrived Phuket on 28 december carrying 9 tons of clean drinking water and other requested supplies.
     When it left, it airliftet 200 Swedes picked among the persons most in need of getting home.
     On 3 January, the second emergency flight from Iceland landed in Phuket. This time the flight carried 26 doctors, nurses and other emergency personnel. Plus more clean water and other supply from the Red Cross in Iceland which was handed over to the Thai Red Cross.
     “I have just spend the day coordinating and supervising the transportation and departure of 18 patients on stretchers from sic different hospitals in Bangkok plus 20 seated injured or relatives going back to Stockholm,” says Poul Weber, Consul of Iceland.
     All the patients were traumatised by the horrible experience having all lost someone in the disaster.
     The ambulance flight will return on 6 January and depart the next day with another group of hospitalised patients.
     According to one of the Swedish doctors, the ambulance plane was so well equipped, that “if we ever need an ambulance flight another time, I’ll request one from Iceland.”

Police shoots at the Foreign Minitry
     The Norwegian police as well as the Police Union has launched a critique of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. Together with Norwegians on the scene in the Tsunami struck areas they feel the government officials were ill equipped to handle the catastrophe. A police initiative to register those missing was shot down by by ministry officials on the third day, because “ministry officials believed they could do a better job themselves. Survivors have since had to register themselves and had to report the names of those they knew were missing. “We felt we were prepared to tackle extraordinary and complicated situations”, said Ministry Spokesperson, Anne Lene Dale Sandsten

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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