By The Nation
Educational investor Howard Liang, 64, together with his wife Luanna Liang, 62, and their two daughters – Chloe, 30, and Charmian, 27 – recounted that nineteen members of the family were in Phuket when the tsunami struck on December 26, 2004. Luckily, all survived the ordeal while the two boats they were on were smashed by huge waves, sending them to the swelling sea.
Howard Liang said the kindness of Thai people including kids who came to their assistance was especially touching. "They helped us with all they could without asking for anything back," he said.
His wife also told of a girl offering her a half bottle of water and a father and his little girl offered their shoes to the family.
See short-VDO clip of the family giving an interview to the Nation Group.
One of worst disasters Thailand has faced was the tsunami in 2004 which caused more than 5,000 deaths in the southern region, compared to a total of 230,000 deaths in countries hit by similar incidents. Back then, Thailand did not have a tsunami warning system, partly because the country had never experienced such a devastation.
After the disaster, Thailand installed a tsunami warning system and the
establishment of National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC) in 2005, along with improvement of related facilities, such as disaster warning towers and warning buoys in both long and short distances.
ACM Somnuek Swatteuk, an expert in disaster warning, told Thai PBS that those buoys were recently replaced by new ones.
Long-distance buoys were placed nine hundred metres from the shore. After ringing, people have over an hour to move away from the oncoming tsunami waves.
Short distance buoys were placed three hundred metres from the shore. After ringing, there is 30 minutes for people to move away.
In addition, the director of the Earthquake Observation Division under the Thai Meteorological Department, Winai Thongphasuk said that the division also installed vibration wave measurement stations nationwide. These stations can calculate the centre of the earthquake, as well as the magnitude and its occurring time.