2B newsfeed: Tsunami in Thailand – December 30-31, 2004

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December 31

15:26pm, December 31 - Today's Post and Nation
It has been difficult this week to get newsstand copies of the English- and Thai-language dailies. Today's editions are still running banner headlines five days after the event. The Post (right) has contrasting satellite photos showing how the waves erased coastal features. The Nation (right) runs an aerial photo of Phi Phi (the Post ran a photo like this on December 28). Readers were chuckling and shaking their head at the headline 'Thai toll skyrockets' under 'UNDERSTANDING YOUR PET BETTER.'

14:23pm, December 31 - More from Manager Daily
Another updated death toll was published at 1:00pm, but the numbers are just a dozen higher. More info from today's Manager Daily translated and summarized by Wisarut: There is only about a 20% chance that the missing people are still alive so the estimation of 7000 deaths is possible.
Furthermore, His Majesty's greeting card has been cancelled which is quite understandable since His Majesty lost his grandson, Khun Poom, who had planned to come and see him at Klai Kangwon Palace at Hua Hin on December 31, 2004. The tsunami also killed the bodyguards of Khun Poom as well. There is a plan for a statue of Khun Poom at the Mounted Police Field in Bang Bon and the police are going to posthumously promote Khun Poom to Pol. 2nd Lt.
Rescue officers at Phi Phi are required to wear gas masks since the odor from decomposed bodies is going to have a harmful effect on rescue officers.


13:38pm, December 31
- Japanese tsunami photos
Laurie pointed out KSL running these tsunami photos, however, we believe these are photos from an earlier tsunami event in Japan.

13:11pm, December 31 - Foreign embassies in Bangkok demand their nationals contact their loved ones

As message boards are being flooded with missing person posts and embassies are overwhelmed with requests as well, the foreign embassies in Bangkok are insisting that foreigners living in any part of Thailand let their loved ones know they are okay. Many people outside of Thailand seem to think that the disaster impacted the entire country--even Bangkok. The truth is that Thailand is a huge country and only a small section of its huge coastline was hit.

12:51pm, December 31 - Lastest official death toll at 8:00am

Province Deceased Injured Missing
Thai Non-Thai Unknown Total Thai Non-Thai Unknown Total
Phangnga
1662
2027
0
3689
4345
1253
0
5,598
2422
Krabi
108
88
171
367
0
0
2649
2649
1913
Phuket
151
111
17
279
386
225
661
1272
2123
Ranong
162
2
0
164
189
14
0
203
16
Satun
6
0
0
6
15
0
0
15
0
Trang
3
2
0
5
57
9
46
112
1
Total
2092
2230
188
4510
4992
1501
3356
9824
6475

Info from today's Manager Daily translated and summarized by Wisarut: There is another report that even Phangnga alone has more than 4000 corpses so there could be a lot more uncollected corpses. The bodies at Phangnga have piled up in such extend that many rescue officers have vomited and need to put ammonia into their masks.
Rescue Offices have reported that they can see those farang ghosts swimming on the beaches around Phi Phi island even though Phi Phi Island is closed to anyone except local people and rescue officers. So some officers have to make a day trip from the mainland to Phi Phi since they feel very scarred from those ghosts and do not want to stay overnight there.
The forensic officers said they need surgery officers and surgery instruments so as to help them identify the rotting corpses from DNA in addition to special spectacles to prevent the contact with blood and liquid.
Survivors in Phangnga have to stay in the hills and mountains since they are too scared to go back to their houses which have been trashed by the tsunami. They need electric torches and radio as well as cooking utensils.
Satun has more land subsidence--now a seventh giant hole. Also more than 1000 fishermen's ships are missing-- 90% of them are from the small fishermen.
The Ministry of the Interior is working to clear Patong beach to become serviceable again next year. The Ministry of Agriculture is working to clear Ban Nam Khem fishermen's village in Phang Nga since this village has been utterly trashed. They have to remove at least 80 fishermen's ships.
Now, the HTMS Chakkri Narubet (the aircraft carrier in the Royal Thai Navy) has reached Phi Phi island to perform rescue, medical aids, and finding any missing in the sea by flying Sea Hawk helicopter.


9:32am, December 31
- Confirmed death toll from Thai tidal waves is 4,351 - official - AFP
The confirmed death toll from tidal waves in Thailand is now 4,351, a provincial governor says.
Anuwat Maytheevibulwut, governor of the worst-hit province of Phang Nga, said the figure for deaths in his province alone as of Thursday night was 3,530...

Tsunami warning on December 30 based on quackery - December 31, 2004



Flashback 1998 - The tsunami warning - December 31, 2004



From BoingBoing: Most shockingly tasteless tsunami-related headline award

Tsunamis shatter celebrity holidays - CNN
More here. We liked Oprah's Gay Designer Survives Tsunami (it seems CNN has now fixed this headline)

Photos from Patong Beach of the tsunami coming in to shore

Thanks to Nils for pointing out these incredible photos from Patong beach. Note one of the photos near the bottom which shows the empty bay and the giant wave rushing in.

Karabao song about the tragedy
Mr. Ad of Karabao Band composed a new song named "Zap Namta Andaman" or "Mop up the tears of Andaman" which was played for the first time on iTV Thursday night (November 30).

Update on minor islands
Earlier this week we asked about the fates of Ko Similan, Ko Surin and the Muslim fishing village on Ko Panyi. Wisarut reports: For the case of Similan and Surin National park, they were spared from catastrophe by coral reefs in the shallow water which protected both from being hit hard by the waves. However, the coral was badly damaged. Here is it being discussed on a forum.
However, Phang Nga Naval Base has been utterly trashed by the tsunami to such an extent that the Royal Thai Navy cannot run their ships to help fishermen stranded around the islands. Even the house of the Commander and Deputy Commander of Phang Nga Naval base has been pushed into the sea.
No news about the Pan Yee (Ko Panyi) fisherman village.


Translations from Thai-language newspapers:
Matichon, December 30, 2004

* Mr. Boonchub Zaeaiew, a 40-year-old resident of Amphur Kratoo, Phuket , is one of the victims who survived and told his story to the press with tears in his eyes. He has nothing left. He, his wife, and his daughter sold food at the ground floor of Ocean Plaza Department store. He and his wife survived, but his daughter has been missing for four days so far. He complains why nobody has helped him to find his 14-year-old daughter. He says since he is not a famous person and not rich, nobody cares about this. Now he has no job, lost his daughter, and his car was broken up under the building. He has not got any help from the government. He wants nothing except his daughter’s body.

* In Phuket, Ms. Kanjana Adunyanukoson, the head of the Rare Animal Group at the Research Institute of Sea Resources helped a sea cow (dugong). It weighed 300 kgs, was 2.60 meters long, and 40 years old. It was thrown by a giant wave from the sea and when the water retreated it could not swim and was stuck in a moat. After it was found, the officer releases it back into the sea near a bridge at a military base.

* Maew [nickname of PM Thaksin] confirmed that the election day will not be postponed. Mr. Suranun Vejchachiwa, the spokesman of the TRT party, pointed out that MP just gave their individual opinions (about the election being postponed), but that the party do not want to postpone. He said that TRT candidates do not dare distribute money and belongings to six provinces (which might violate election laws). The candidates help out as being coordinators only.


Translations from Thai-language newspapers:
Manager Online, December 30, 2004

* An English tourists who faced the tsunami still has a lot of stress and cannot accept it. He drinks whisky secretly for relief and then tries to kill himself by jumping off a building at Thammasat University Rangsit [where tourists returning from the Phuket area are staying].

* On December 30, the news reported that Mr. Samit Thammasaroj, the former general director of the Department of Meteorology said that the PM will set him up to be a Deputy of the Prime Minister's office and the chairperson to set the an Advance Warning Danger System for the country.

* The team of Siriraj Hospital doctors complains that the coordination for assistance in the south is bad. The communication also fails so things go very slowly.

* Ms. Praethongtarn Shinawatra, the PM's daughter, and her friends apply to be interpreters for victims at Thammasat Rangsit where tourists returning from the Phuket area are staying. However, there are plenty of of volunteers already so they will put her on the list if they need more. She and her friends will help to organize clothes and other donations.


Translations from Thai-language newspapers:
ThaiRath, December 30, 2004

* It is expected that the overall death toll from the tsunami will be 100,000. At Takuapa, Pang-nga there are 4000 dead bodies. Thaksin flew in to inspect in Krabi, Pang-nga, Ranong and Phuket again. The government asks all religious institutions to commemorate the victims.

* Royals express concern for suffering victims of the tidal wave disaster in the six southern provinces. The Crown Prince gave 240 coffins [Matichon reported 275 coffins] including 54 plastic cloths that cover dead bodies and 1000 bags. Meanwhile the Crown Princess denotes 2 million baht from the merit fund. Somdej Pratep gave 20 million baht from the Chaipattana Foundation to the victims.

* On December 29 at 5:00pm, at the Election Commission Office, Mr. Parinya Nakchattri reveals that after discussing with the representative of Interior Ministry and People's Register Office they decided to survey voters to determine who is alive or dead in the six southern provinces. Also who needs a new ID card to vote.

Last official death toll posted last night (December 30) at 9:00pm

Province Deceased Injured Missing
Thai Non-Thai Unknown Total Thai Non-Thai Unknown Total
Phangnga
1,073
510
0
1,583
4,320
1,253
0
5,573
2,376
Krabi
108
88
171
367
0
0
2,649
2,649
1,913
Phuket
151
111
17
279
386
225
661
1,272
1,815
Ranong
162
2
0
164
189
14
0
203
16
Satun
6
0
0
6
15
0
0
15
0
Trang
3
2
0
5
57
9
46
112
1
Total
1,503
713
188
2,404
4,967
1,501
3,356
9,824
6,121

What's on Thai TV

Wisarut reports: From the telephones the conversion between Khun Sorayut (a TV host in Thailand) and officers at Krabi Provincial Hall who handle body collecting, as well as Dr. Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunand [the famous forensic expert]: Those who work as corpse collectors at Phi Phi Island said they are too exhausted and frustrated with this job since they get very bad cooperation from Krabi Provincial Hall. The Governor of Krabi tried to find the executes so as to dodge any responsibilities for the frustration of the rescue officers. Khunying Pornthip also complained about the poor communication system. Khunying Pornthip and her coworkers in Phang Nga said AIS seems to let down their customers by failing to restore the mobile phone network while DTAC successfully restored their mobile phone networks on time. Furthermore, she needs more plastic bags to hold corpses as well as cooking utensils since the rations donated from the government require hot water to cook.

Paucity of Information on Tsunami in Burma - The Irrawaddy
The tsunami-related death toll of Burmese nationals working in neighboring Thailand continues to increase. As yet there is little information forthcoming on the scale of the damage in Burma itself...

The warnings were in the names - The Nation
Meaning of the place names of Phang Nga, Krabi, Phuket, Phi Phi Island, and Ranong.

More on needed relief items from the British Chamber of Commerce:
* * * URGENT - RH(-) BLOOD DONORS REQUIRED * * *
There is an IMMEDIATE need for "RH, Negative" blood, of any group ('A', 'B', 'AB', 'O', etc.) at the National Blood Center (near Chulalongkorn Hopital). Tel: 0-2256-4300 or 0-2251-3111 ext: 114, 157, 161, 162 from 8.00 am-7.30 pm everyday - www.redcross.or.th
We understand that alternative donation points (from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm) are at the following Government Hospitals but please telephone in advance to ensure that your donation can be taken.
1. Chulalongkorn Hospital, Lumpini Pathumwan Rd - Tel. 02 252 8131-9
2. Police Hospital, Rama I Road, Pathumwan - Tel. 02-25281111-25 (NOT TAKING DONATIONS)
3. Phramongkutklao Hospital, Rajvithee Road, Rajthevee - Tel. 02 246 1400-24
4. Rajavithi Hospital, Prayathai Road, Rajatevee - Tel. 02354-8108-9
5. Siriraj Hospital, Pran-nok Road, Bangkok-noi - Tel. 02 419 7000
6. Lert Sin Hospital, Silom Road - Tel. 02 0-2353-9798-9
My thanks to David Tuck of Weber Shandwick for the following first-hand observations and information:-
I've just come back from the Thai Red Cross. Things are pretty hectic there. The main points I think you could share in an update are:
1) The over-riding priority is for RH Negative blood.
2) The Red Cross DON'T have any facilities to test on the spot whether your blood is Rh positive or negative. They are only doing this AFTER you've donated.
3) From start to finish the donation process is currently taking well over an hour - unless you know you are Rh negative in which case you'll be taken care of almost at once.
4) If you're unwell and are taking any medication (or have been in the past week), have high blood pressure or other contrary indicators, you may not be able to give blood (although I think if you're Rh negative they'd be much more lenient).
In summary, I think that the best advice is that if you know for sure that you are Rh negative - please do what you can to donate. But if you don't know, then it may actually be less helpful to go along, because of system overload.
* * * FINANCIAL DONATIONS * * *
Many people have asked how they may make a financial donation to the emergency relief effort in Phuket. Our current information is the following:-
H.M. THE KING'S FOUNDATION (Rajaprajanugros Foundation)
Currently donations can only be accepted via cheque to : 1034 Krungkasem Road, Khlong Mahanak, Pom Prab Sattru Phai Bangkok 10100
Tel. 02 281 1902 , 02 628 3467 , 02 282 9595-6
THAI RED CROSS
Name of Account: Thai Red Cross
Bank: Siam Commercial Bank.
Account No.: 045-2-88000-6
Type of Account: savings
Branch: Thai Red Cross
If you would like a receipt for your donation please fax a copy of the pay-in slip to the Thai Red Cross at fax: 0 2252 7976
Alternatively, send an SMS to 4520000 with keyword "rc" for donation to the relief effort. The service enables consumers that have a DTAC, AIS or Orange subscription to make a 10 baht donation by submitting an SMS with keyword "rc" to access number 4520000. The consumer will receive a thank you message from the Thai Red Cross confirming that the donation has been received. The service is now publicised on the Thai Red Cross Home Page:
You have to scroll down a bit on the page to see. In addition, Red Cross publicises this service via TV and radio broadcasting partners.
THAI GOVERNMENT DISASTER RELIEF
Name of Account: OPM DISASTER RELIEF
Bank: Saving Bank
Account No.: 00-0025-20-014972-3
Type of Account: Savings
Branch: Government House
If you would like a receipt for your donation please fax a copy of the pay-in slip to Goverment House at fax: 0 2281 4150 or 0 2282 3376


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