Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has lead foreign envoys and relatives of the 2004 tsunami victims in a memorial marking the 10th anniversary of the disaster in Khao Lak, north of Phuket, on December 26th. PM Prayuth has presided over the opening of the event, titled “Hold Me Tight” with more than 1,300 attendees He thanked those who provided aid after the devastating disaster. The ceremony was held at the Tor 813 Tsunami Memorial Park at Khao Lak. The site of the memorial park and patrol boat Tor 813 is one kilometre inland, where the boat was stranded by the tsunami. A confirmed 3,950 people died in Khao Lak, though estimates including the number of people missing in the area after the waves exceeded 4,500. Among those in Khao Lak who died was Bhumi Jensen, grandson of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The ceremony was in memory of the victims who lost their lives in the waves.
The Thai government had invited VIPs from many other countries to attend the ceremony. Multi-faith ceremonies were held at the patrol boat memorial site, and a ‘Light Up’ ceremony and musical performances on stage during the evening. On December 27th, PM Prayuth and the delegation visited Baan Nam Khem and Chai Pattana-Kachad Thai (Ban Thung Rak) villages, which are regarded as model villages in exemplifying post-tsunami rehabilitation. More than 2,000 of the 6,000 inhabitants at Baan Nam Khem died in the waves.
In Phuket, tsunami memorial services began with the traditional memorial and multifaith services at the Tsunami Memorial Wall at Mai Khao in the morning, and included the annual Light Up Phuket candlelight vigil on Patong Beach that night. “The victims of the 2004 tsunami will not be forgotten. We want to express our heartfelt appreciation to both national and international organisations which worked hard to ease the suffering of victims and their families,” said the Foreign Ministry’s permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkaew.