Tsunami memorials November and 26 December

The Swedish government’s commission for support and coordination after the tsunami, RSOS, has decided to grant 583 individuals, who are next of kin to Swedes that died in the December 26 tsunami in Thailand, SEK 12,500 per person to cover travel expenses to private memorial trips to Thailand.
        Relatives to almost 90 percent of the 543 Swedes that perspired in the natural disaster in Thailand did seek travel grants. 
        The financial support package has been granted following strict guidelines, allowing a spouse, children to dead parents and parents to minors that deceased financial support. Children below 18 years of age in families where no adult relative has been granted support receive the double amount to cover for a travel companion.
        The SEK 12,500 support is not meant to cover all travel expenses. Recipients chose when and how to travel to Thailand. They may also share funds with other family members who like to join.
        In addition does Sweden arrange government sponsored memorial services in Thailand on 4 and 11 November as well as on 26 December. 
        Around 500 Swedes have told RSOS that they will attend these services. Most of them, some 300, will attend the 26 December memorials while some 100 each will attend on the 4th and 11th November respectively.
        The November ceremonies will be held at Pearl Village hotel in Phuket while the anniversary memorial on 26 December has been slated for Orchid Beach Resort on Khuk Khak beach in Khao Lak. 
        All these ceremonies will follow an official program, from 17.00 to 19.00, with music, songs, poem readings and opportunities to personally honour loved ones gone in the tsunami. Priests and consular staff will attend and support those in need. 
        The Swedish government allotted SEK 8.6 million for the private memorial travel support packages and another SEK 4.6 million for the tsunami memorial services which will be held arranged by Sweden in Sweden and in Thailand. The three major Sweden-based memorial services will be held in Stockholm, Malmö and Göteborg.
        Thailand’s offer to invite next of kin and injured to attend memorial services in Thailand 26 December 2005 has not influenced RSOS planning. 
        “We have received conflicting reports whether the Thai government will cover travel and lodging expenses,” says Ms Birgitta Ågren, administrative manager RSOS in a official statement. “As far as RSOS is concerned does the Thai government invitation not mean any change in our work.

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