Danes turn down Tsunami memorial

The Danes have shown only little interest in participating in the memorial ceremony in Thailand on the anniversary of the Tsunami. On November 6th, the first deadline, only 18 Danes had applied to get a free trip and stay to the areas in Thailand struck by the Tsunami on last year’s Boxing Day, e.g. Phuket.
  All people injured and relatives of the diseased, who want to take part in the the Boxing Day memorial, can apply the Thai government to have the trip to Thailand and hotel paid. The Thai government hoped that 10,000 people would participate, but just about 400 have applied by filling out application forms on the Thai Foreign Ministry homepage.
  Because of the few applications the deadline was postponed till November 15th. According to the Thai Foreign Ministry’s webside the deadline has now been further postponed. This time till November 25th. Ambassador attached to the Thai foreign ministry, Vitavas Srivihok, has turned down expectations. Now he hopes that 1500-2000 will attend the memorial, but in these numbers are also included VIPs, representatives of international organisations, NGOs, diplomats and volunteers.
  There might be several reasons for the rather modest number of applications. Many people already went them selves or with their government to see the sites of the disaster and they might have been given too short a notice for them to prepare to go to Thailand,” Vitavas Srivihok says.
  The Danish ambassador to Thailand, Ulrik Helweg-Larsen, assumes that the modest number of Danish applications is because of the arrangement the Danish government made this April for the Danish injured and relatives of the diseased.
  “I assume that the ceremony in April gave a lot of people a sort of closure on the tragedy of the Tsunami. Going back now could bring the Tsunami back into their life. Another reason can be that a lot of people might prefer to celebrate Christmas at home with the families, but I do think that the Danish memorial in April is the main reason,” Ulrik Helweg-Larsen says.
  45 Danes were killed in Thailand by the Tsunami and an unknown number injured.
  For more information and application form, go to www.mfa.go.th/tsunami 

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