A COMMEMORATIVE ceremony was held in Phang Nga to mark the 18th anniversary of the devastating tsunami disaster that occurred on December 26, 2004 killing over 200,000 people in 14 countries with thousands having perished in Thailand including foreign tourists, INN News said.
Attending the event at Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park in Takua Pa District were Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Phang Nga’s Deputy Governor Thaloengsak Nuchprathan as well as other officials, village chiefs, local residents and relatives of those who died in the disaster.
This year’s event was quite simple with representatives of three religions – Buddhism, Islam and Christianity – praying for those who died. Relatives brought photos of their departed loved ones and food to participate in the ceremony. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s message on the National Disaster Prevention Day was read out and flowers placed on the memorial wall.
A wreath and white roses were placed in front of a photo of Khun Poom Jensen, the only son of Princess Ubolratana and her American (former) husband Peter Ladd Jensen who also died in this disaster.
Candles will be lit this evening in memory of those who passed away.
Holding this commemorative ceremony raises awareness among the people about the losses that occur in disasters and that they should be prepared to prevent and deal with them as one could occur at any time.
Local people who survived the devastating tsunami 18 years ago said their lives had improved over the years and they were now better prepared to cope with disasters.
In 2004, a 9.1 magnitude quake off Sumatra island in northern Indonesia triggered a tsunami that struck 14 countries, killing 226,000 people along the Indian Ocean coastline, more than half of them in Indonesia.
In Thailand this tsunami killed 4,812 people, injured 8,457 others with 4,499 missing. It was Khao Lak that was hardest hit with many foreign tourists among the victims.
A commemorative event taking place to mark the 18th anniversary of the deadly Boxing Day tsunami. Photos: INN News