Sixteen years ago today on December 26th, 2004, Phuket, Phang Nga and other parts of Thailand suffered an unbelievable tragedy in the Boxing Day Tsunami that cost thousands of lives and significant financial damage in the height of the tourist season.
The day is also marked as National Disaster Prevention Day in Thailand, which was created after the disaster.
The event is traditionally marked by candle lit rituals, memorials and gatherings not just in Phuket but also in Phang Nga and other areas which saw a severe impact from the disaster. However, due to Covid-19 precautions in Thailand with a recent cluster of infections stemming from a shrimp market in Samut Sakhon it is expected that this years memorial activities will be scaled down across impacted locations to protect against the possible spread of Covid-19. Despite the precautions many people are expected to take time out of their day today to remember the victims of the disaster as well as spare a thought for many who are still missing and unidentified.
In Thailand, officially released numbers from the Thai Government stated that there were 5,078 confirmed dead, another 8,457 injured and 3,716 missing, presumed dead, all lost to the tsunami. Unofficial numbers mark the missing as significantly higher and memorials to those are common in affected areas. Even now, many years later, hundreds of Thai tsunami victims remain unidentified despite large efforts by forensic teams to do so from the Disaster Victim Identification Unit.
The Pattaya News gives its condolences to the survivors and family members of the victims and takes a moment today to remember all those whose lives were tragically effected by this disaster which, even sixteen years later, is still fresh on the mind of many.
Photo Credit: Phukettsunami.blogspot.com