The Swedish police has announced that it predicts the amount of Swedish victims to rise. Presently 637 Swedes have been confirmed to be missing. However the missing list contains more than 1900 names.
The official death toll following the Tsunami is now 52.
The first Finnish body which has been pre-identified will be transferred to Finland from Thailand on Monday. The Finnish Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Affairs will be present at the ceremony on Monday.
False information was spread by the Thai Public Health Ministry on 7th January 2005. The news was posted on the cover page of the Nation. ”Out of approximately 2,000 Finnish visitors to Thailand that went missing after last week’s killer tsunami, only 500 have so far been located, Thai authorities said yesterday.” The Nation reports on Friday 7th January 2005.
The Finnish Ambassador in Thailand, Heikki Tuunanen, corrected the erroneous information today in the Nation. He explained that some 2,500 Finns had been holidaying in the disaster area, of who most had been accounted for. Out of the 2,500 some 190 people are still listed as missing and feared dead
“The number of Finns who were in the affected area is around 2500 and out of this number all those willing have been evacuated to Finland. This amount consists of officials working in the region and tourists that were brought to the area by travel agencies, we don’t know how many backpackers and other individual Finns there were at the time, but they keep popping up, for example we were recently contacted by a backpacker who was now in Australia.” Says Olli Kolstela, Criminal Investigator, and leader of the Finnish Disaster Victim Identification Unit in Phuket.
Olli Kolstela refuses to specify how Finns in Thailand are being contacted. “We are using all methods available.” I asked why I had never been contacted by the Foreign Ministry since I was on Kho Lanta, in Krabi district also affected by the Tsunami disaster. “It is not our responsibility to contact individual travelers in Thailand. Traveling is voluntary, we have been to busy to try to find all individual travelers. They all know that they should contact their family and authorities as soon as possible.”
“The list of missing is final. It is very unlikely that any new names will be added.” Says Olli Kolstela.
On Friday the Finnish Police announced that one person had been removed from the list of missing bringing down the total to 176. The person traveling in Thailand had simply not known that his name had been on the list of presumed dead 12 days after.