2B newsfeed: Tsunami in Thailand – January 1-3, 2005

Times are Bangkok time - GMT+7. A thread about the situation is on the forum.
Newest news is at the top of the page. The oldest news is at the bottom.


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January 3

What's in the newspapers
While the foreign press has innocent photos of elephants dragging palm fronds around, Dailynews (left above) has an elephant carrying a corpse with its tusks. On the left side are the amazing series of photos we linked to on December 28.
Khao Sod has a story about the identities of the people photographed running from the waves.

The photo essay of Phuket after tsunami: Manager Daily - good photos of erosion and coral damage

Translations from Thai-language newspapers: Manager Daily and ThaiRath
- January 3, 2005

Wisarut reports on news items in the local press: The latest bodycount at 8:00am of January 3, 2005:
Dead: 5,046 (2,287 Thai, 2,459 foreigners, 300 unclassified)
Injured: 8,457
Missing: 3,810 (after cutting redundant entries out of the list)

However, the Swedish government told the Thai Ambassador in Stockholm that there are at least 3500 Swedes missing in Thailand even though the Thai government said they just recovered 60 dead Swedes.

Search dogs have recovered at least 10 buried corpses at Bang Muang village of Phangnga.

Two elephants from Ayutthaya are coming to clear debris where the machines cannot go as well as to recover the buried corpses at Bang Niang (Khuekkhak district of Phangnga). Another four elephants from Ayutthaya will follow soon.

There are 40 starving deer along with floating corpses at Phra Thong and nearby islands (at least 30 floating corpses at Tachai Island and Ball Island).

Ten monks of 20 at Wat Yanyao (Wat Nikornwararam) have to leave the temple to live at other temples since they cannot stand the stinking and rotting corpses piling up in the temple area. Even other monks who still live in Wat Yanyao have to sleep outside the temple area. They have lots of work to chant for funerals and perform cremation ceremonies.

Minister Suwit said there will be an anonymous cemetery for unidentified corpses at Khao Lak.

Soldiers, sailors and rescue officer said they can recover only about 1 in 3 of the more than 4000 floating, buried and rotting corpses at Phi Phi Island while the vultures are flying around Phi Phi and Phangnga.

French rescue officers have come to recover corpses at Sofitel in Khao Lak and the nearby area. So far the French rescue officers have recovered 30 corpses including 10 dead French.

Now the land subsidence has spread from Satun to Trang and the Nopphitam district of Nakhon Srithammarat.

The Ministry of Public Health is asking for donations of rubber gloves, giant boots, mosquito repellent, no. 95 masks, and black garbage bags.

Even though Patong Beach has been quickly recovered and restored, Premier Thaksin has asked officers to catch those the mafia who run rampant to extract extortion from poor local enterprises along Patong Beach.

Channel 7 has reported that underground water has seeped into paddy fields in the La Ngoo district of Satun due to the tsunami while there are 2-3 dolphins swimming inside the abandoned tin mines since they have brought to the mainland by the tsunami.

BMA Governor Aphirak has had a 1-minute silence for those who perished.


January 2

The disaster: Eyewitness account from Phangnga - January 1, 2004

Translations from Thai-language newspapers: Manager Daily - January 2, 2005

Wisarut reports on news items in Manager Daily: There are at 800 victims of the tsunami with psychological depression and 300 of 800 the depressed victims have severe depression and are suicidal so more psychologists are in demands (link).

Updated bodycount data: Jan 2, 2005 at noon
Death: 4,985 (2,252 Thai, 2,457 Foreigners, 276 Unidentified)
Injured: 10,350 ( 6,031 Thailanders, 2,248 Foreigners, 2,071 Unidentified)
Missing: 6,424
(link)

It is quite a miracle that only 5% of coral (both shallow water and deep sea) is damaged. No digging for artesian wells is allowed for the time being while and traveling into the capes around the provinces along Andaman Sea is strictly prohibited for safety reasons.
Khon Poo (Phognsit Khamphee), the song-for-life composer, is following Ad Carabao by coming up with his own song for the victims of the tsunami. The song was just premiered
(link). A copy of the song is here.

What is being reported on Thai-language TV
- January 2, 2005

Wisarut reports on what is on Thai-language TV: Channel 11 has reported that there are several cases where the Tambon Administration Organizations refuse to release donated food, clothes, and other necessities to those who suffer from the tsunami calamity so that they can sell those donated items at high prices. Furthermore, vote canvassers are blocking donations so as to prevent both rival political parties from reaping votes even though the donations come from other places. They also bully both local people who suffer from calamities and rescue officers who come to help clear the debris.
Dr Khunying Pornthip and her co-workers are asking for more dentists around the country to help them identify rotten corpses at Wat Yan Yao (Phangnga) from dental records as well as DNA from dental nerves in the extracted teeth. The dentists from Prince Songkla University are already stretched to the limit so more dentists from Chulalongkorn University, Khon Kaen University, Chang Mai University, Mahidol University are in demand.
When Khun Ying Photjamarn (the wife of the Prime Minister) came to see Dr. Khunying Pornthip at Wat Yarn Yao, she was stunned by the amount of forensic work Khunying Pornthip and coworkers have to handle. Initially, Khunying Photjamarn wanted to remove the surgical mask, but she had to put the mask back on a few seconds later due to the smell from corpses piled up like bundles of firewood. So Khunying Phoitjamarn is going to ask Premier Thaksin to provide more dry ice, plastic body bags, refrigerated containers so set up the makeshift morgues along with the white boards and chemical pens for recording the identified corpse as well as digital cameras, memory sticks, laptops, CD-ROMs, CD burners,etc.
Her Majesty Queen Sirikit also asks cadet students from Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and Police Academy to help the locals rebuild their houses.
There are already 11 holes from the land subsidence in Satun.
During the tsunami, the hotsprings in Ranong dried up.
The local people of Phi Phi Island are complaining that the bureaucrats refuse to release the donated items by claming that they did not bring the records to the Provincial Office. Many have suspected that those bureaucrats are going to keep the donated stuff for themselves and then they will sell on the black markets.


Satellite Photo of Khao Lak - Before and After Tsunami


Insurance firms digging in heels - The Nation, January 2, 2005
...“Simply put, [several insurance companies] do not consider themselves liable to pay compensation, saying the damage was caused by flooding, not by an earthquake [as specified in the policy]”...

January 1

Translations from Thai-language newspapers: Matichon - December 31, 2004

* HM The King cancels his New Year greeting card of 2005. He works very hard to help victims in the south and is so happy that Thai people unite to help each other. Meanwhile, Prime Minister sets up Mr. Samit to set up a disaster warning system. It is sad that 90 dead body were stuck in a mine pit. The Department of Underground Resources warn people in three provinces (Satun, Trang and Krabi) may face the problem of the land sinking or caving in.

* Mr. Sujin Hwangli, the president of the Disaster Insurance Association gave an interview on December 30. He said victims may get around 10,000 million baht for the disaster compensation. For the damaged car, if they can prove that the damage was caused from the tsunami, the owners can get compensation immediately.

* Foreigners admire Thai people’s sympathy--”little money, but big heart”--that helps victims who suffer from the tsunami disaster. The AFP reporter collected photos of the "Thai sympathy impression" to show around the world. This shows that although Thai people also lose lives and assets, they help and take care of lots of foreign tourists victims.

Translations from Thai-language newspapers: Thairath - December 31, 2004

* The lottery draw on December 30 was very popular with many people trying to be lucky. The government got 525 million baht profit. Lots of people buy the number of New Era 548 [this year is 2548] and some people buy the date of the tsunami event which is 026.

* Mrs. Orapin Milintasutra, a 38-year-old victim, disappeared from Takuapa, Phangnga. Her relatives will give 100,000 baht if someone finds her dead body. This makes people very interested.

Interesting comparison of newspaper headlines about relief: Is relief "pouring" in? "Trickling" in? Bound up in "red tape"? Is it a "tidal wave" of assistance? Is it "building"? Do survivors "fight for aid amid corpses"? Do "delays hinder relief"? Is this aid "ramping up"? Is it arriving "slowly"? "Expanding"? "Moving ahead"?

NOAA AND THE INDIAN OCEAN TSUNAMI
The Pacific Ocean area got an update on the Sumatran quake minutes after it happened: Dec. 29, 2004 — NOAA scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii went to work within minutes of getting a seismic signal that an earthquake occurred off the west coast of Northern Sumatra, Indonesia. NOAA issued a bulletin indicating no threat of a tsunami to Hawaii, the West Coast of North America or to other coasts in the Pacific Basin—the area served by the existing tsunami warning system established by the Pacific rim countries and operated by NOAA in Hawaii...


Above: UBC cable TV is running an announcement from the US Embassy for nationals to report they are ok.


Above: The Nation's January 1 edition leads with an unusual comment as the front page headline.

No risk of tsunami from new quake - January 1, 2005
A series of descending quotes in the article: the AP says USGS says NOAA says...
6.5 Magnitude Aftershock Hits Indonesia - AP, January 1, 2005
A 6.5-magnitude aftershock to last weekend's killer earthquake hit off the coast of Sumatra on Saturday, sending frightened residents running into the streets. No injuries were reported.
..

Saturday, January 01, 2005 at 06:25:44 UTC - Magnitude 6.5 OFF W COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA


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