Foreigners who wish to apply for the free visit to Thailand to participate in the Tsunami Commemorative Ceremony on 26 December 2005 must provide a number of traumatic evidence to support their claim.
To apply for support, applicants are requested to use an on-line form which was scheduled to be published on the website of Thailand’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs on Friday 14 October, but for an undisclosed reason was still not yet publicly available as of late Friday.
To fill out the form, the relatives will have to scan and attach the death certificate of the deceased as well as documentation to prove their relationship to the deceased.
Apart from that, the form asks for input of name(s) of the deceased, the date of their visit, the duration of the visit – which may be interpreted in a number of ways – and their place of accommodation.
As for the injured, they will have to scan and attach proof of medical treatment or hospitalization. This kind of evidence simply doesn’t exist for the many thousand injured who were treated as out-patients immediately after the disaster where no receipts were issued.
Applicants must fill in and submit the form within 1 November 2005. Applicants will then be informed via e-mail within 10 November 2005 if their application has been approved or rejected.
The website recommends that relatives or injured who already have reserved airtickets and accommodation to Thailand should keep these arrangements. If their application for financial sponsorship is appproved, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will be in charge of refunding their costs of airtickets and accommodation.
Who will be sponsoored?
In the General Information provided by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for applicants it is explained that sponsorship is granted to those who fall under the following categories:
* Next-of-kin of Tsunami victims, defined as the victim’s spouse, children, parents, siblings or grandparents. One-next-of-kin per Tsunami victim’s family will be invited as guest to the Commemorative Ceremony. Each guest can apply for financial support for an economy airfare ticket from country of origin to Bangkok/Phuket, as well as for domestic transportation, which includes a Bangkok-Phuket return air-ticket, accommodation and all meals between 25-27 December 2005
* Injured, defined as those admitted to a hospital in the Tsunami-affected provinces of Thailand who can produce a record from the hospital to which they were admitted or related documentation issued by their government confirming their injuries. Each of the injured will be invited as guest to the Ceremony under the same conditions applied to the victim’s next-of-kin. Extra financial support can be arranged upon request for the injured who need to be accompanied by an assistant, whereby appropriate documentation from a hospital must be shown.
The tentative programme (11 October 2005) for those who have been approved for sponsored by the Thai Government covers three days:
Sunday 25 December 2005:
Depart Bangkok for Phuket on Thai Airways chartered flights
Monday 26 December 2005:
The event itself (see details below)
Tuesday 27 December 2005:
Return to Bangkok on Thai Airways chartered flights
Tsunami Commemorative Ceremony
On 26 December 2005, the Tsunami commemorative event organized by the Thai Government will take place in the Tsunami-affected areas in Phang-nga, Phuket and Krabi.
The Official Programme will last from 17 till 19 in the afternoon. It will start at 17.00 with laying of the foundation stone for the Tsunami Memorial, to be presided over by the Thai Prime Minister, followed by opening of an exhibition of 5 selected concept proposals for the Tsunami Memorial at Khao Lak-Lam Roo National Park.
An inter-faith ceremony will take place at Bang Niang Beach for the following religions: Buddhism, Christianity (Roman Catholic and Protestant), Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism.
After the religious ceremony, the Thai Prime Minister will speak before one minute of silence will be observed. This will be followed by a performance by a children’s choir, lighting of floating lanterns ceremony and poetry reading by children.