By The Nation
Photo by EPA/YONGY
Coastal provinces in the South held tsunami remembrance ceremonies today to mark the seventh anniversary of the disaster that hit six provinces on the Andaman coast, killing more than 5,000 people including foreign tourists.
In Phuket, multi-faith ceremonies of Buddhists, Christians and Muslims were held at Mai Khao Cemetery, where the remains of tsunami victims were formerly kept. The Japanese Association hosted a similar event at Kamala Beach.
At 7pm, the province is set to hold the “Light Up Phuket” event at Loma Park on Patong Beach. The candlelight ceremony will pay tribute to the dead and other victims. Candles will be placed in sand holes and airborne lanterns will be released.
In Phang Nga, merit-making ceremonies were held at two locations in Takua Pa district - at the remains of police patrol vessel Tor 813 left grounded far inland by the tidal wave and at Baan Nam Kem Tsunami Memorial Park.
In Krabi, Governor Prasit Osathanon joined a merit-making ceremony on Phi Phi Island and laid flowers in commemoration of the dead. Some 300 Thais and foreigners attended the multi-faith ceremonies. About 700 people including tourists were killed here in the 2004 tsunami.
They observed a moment of silence and donated stainless steel wreaths to an environmental conservation club to lay on the sea bed about 800 metres from Phi Phi Island.
On December 26, 2004, Phang Nga, Krabi, Phuket, Ranong, Trang and Satun were hit by a massive tidal wave, causing the deaths of more than 5,000 local residents as well as Thai and foreign holidaymakers.
A magnitude 9.15 earthquake off Indonesia triggered the deadly Indian Ocean tsunami which left around 226,000 persons dead or missing in Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and nine other countries.