Day 13 — Search Continues, Rescuing Politicians

7.01.05
18:55
“Swedish Ambassador Jonas Hafstrom rejects the criticism from Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds.

In an interview with Dagens Nyheter, Jonas Hafstrom, Swedish Ambassador in Thailand explaines how the embassy in Bangkok had recently established a new plan in the scenario of a terrorist attack against Swedes in Thailand. But the embassy had no way to prepare for such a huge disaster with so much impact.
     Jonas Hafstrom was already in Phuket on Sunday evening. After visiting the hospital and seeing severely injured Scandinavians he had sent a alarm report to the foreign ministry on Sunday night.
     After six days of working in Phuket, Hafstrom returned to Bangkok and handed over the post to his colleague Christer Asp. Hafstrom explained how the work had changed, an identification commission was in place and nearly all Swedes had been evacuated from Phuket. He had also worked for six days almost without any sleep and admitted that he was not in the state of making decisions.
     Hafstrom didn’t comment on happenings in Stockholm but he was positive of the fact that he has informed all the relevant people.
     Hafstrom had been in contact with the King, Goran Parsson, Laila Freivalds and also with the Swedes that had been directly affected by the natural disaster.
     There was criticism over rumors that Hafstrom would be leaving Phuket for a vacation. Hafstrom explained how his words were misunderstood when he had told journalists that he needed a rest and to meet his family.

7.01.05
14:55
90% done on Searching Khao Lak area

There are only a few areas in Khao Lak that we still have to search. For example the mangrove forests along the shore and some forest inland have not been accessible.
“We are 90% done on searching and collecting the bodies. The rescuers actually cleared out the beach area. The next tasks would be cleaning up and search the mangrove forests.” Suvit Khunkiti, the minister of natural resourses and environment, says in an interview with “Manager On-line” this morning.

07.01.05
14.32
Several Finnish no longer trust the officials and volunteers searching for victims. As a result many have hired private searchers to find missing family members.
Many missing notifications have also been posted in the Thai media.

07.01.05
14.24
The Finnish Foreign Ministry has announced that it will allocate an additional 7.5 million Euro for the victims of the Asian Tsunami disaster. The additional funds will increase the total up to 12 million Euro.
A majority of the funds will be given to the Red Cross, WFP, UNICEF and WHO.

07.01.05
14.10
Thai TV Channel 9 caused stirred emotions in Finland when it falsely identified a photo of a blonde boy as missing 3 year-old Jere Lappalainen. The story focused on a AP photograph, widely circulated in press worldwide, showing a boy sitting in the lap of a Thai soldier in Phuket’s emergency center. The TV Channel announced that the boy was a rescued Finnish citizen.
On Thursday 6th January, Finnish Press and Red Cross Personnel however located and identified the boy as German Anakin Becker. The boy was the son of a German couple working in the Emergency center in Phuket. The parents had simply let the soldier baby-sit their child while working.

07.01.05
14.00
Only 8% of those who attempted to call the Finnish Foreign Ministry’s hotline were able to get through and seek assistance. The Finnish Foreign Ministry received more than 70,000 phone calls during 10 days.
The hotline was established on 26.12.04 and closed yesterday evening.
The Finnish Foreign Ministry has decided to refund all phone calls made during the aftermath of the natural disaster.

07.01.05
14.10
Thai TV Channel 9 caused stirred emotions in Finland when it falsely identified a photo of a blonde boy as missing 3 year-old Jere Lappalainen. The story focused on a AP photograph, widely circulated in press worldwide, showing a boy sitting in the lap of a Thai soldier in Phuket’s emergency center. The TV Channel announced that the boy was a rescued Finnish citizen.
On Thursday 6th January, Finnish Press and Red Cross Personnel however located and identified the boy as German Anakin Becker. The boy was the son of a German couple working in the Emergency center in Phuket. The parents had simply let the soldier baby-sit their child while working.

07.01.05
13.29
The NTB news agency has announced that a majority of the Norwegians are satisfied in their Foreign Minister’s handling. VG Magazine has found that 58% of the sampled target found that Jan Petersen has been doing a good job in handling with the Asian Tsunami disaster.

07.01.05
13.20
The Thai Government has announced that no foreign bodies have been burned nor buried in mass graves. The Government spokesperson Jakrapob Penkair confirmed that all bodies have been properly preserved. Sweden, The Netherlands and Germany have officially questioned the Thai Foreign Ministry about the allegations of mass graves and cremations.

07.01.05
13.00
Sinikka Mönkäre has travelled to Thailand and thanked the Thais on behalf of the Finnish government and survivors. The Finnish Social- and Health Minister has met the Thai Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan in Bangkok.
During the meeting Keyuraphan denied allegations concerning the cremation and burial of foreign bodies after the Tsunami disaster in Southern Thailand.
Sinikka Mönkäre is currently in Hua Hin on her three week golfing holiday. She will not change her holiday plans and travel to the south.

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