For those of you who have been wondering how the Tsunami that hit on the 26th December 2004 has affected Thailand in general, and us in particular, here is an update.
Yes it was devastating and hit the tourist areas badly, killing local Thais as well as hundreds of foreign holiday makers. This is what got the attention of the news media although, compared to other places, it only devastated a small area.
This area is the Southern part on the Andaman coast, comprising places such as Phuket island and Ko Phi Phi Don. The best beaches in the whole of Thailand are found here as well as being a great place to dive.
The bad news is Phi Phi Don is completely devastated and will take a long time to sort out, the good news is, maybe they will not make it overcrowded and dirty like it was before.
As for Phuket island, it has lots of beaches only a few of which have been damaged, some only slightly. The northern beaches are fine and Phuket town was undamaged. It is here they are suffering as all the tourists have gone away and as tourism is the only employment, lots of people are out of work.
A way to help would be to spread the word that Thailand still has a lot to offer as a holiday destination.
There are ongoing discussions about getting an early warning system for tsunamis and this will be accomplished soon.
There are other beach areas of Thailand, around the Gulf coast, to visit as well as Bangkok and Chang Mai. None of these places where affected by the Tsunami, which means that our place here in Bangkok is the same as always and we didn’t know anyone who was hurt.
I have a Swedish friend, Eva, who lives here and who went down to Phuket on Boxing day night to help out with all the Swedish survivors. Lots of them needed help and she has some harrowing stories to tell of her 5 day stay there.
Another person I know from the Canadian club has an apartment on Phuket Island. They were staying in it on the 26th and watched as the sea just rose up and kept on coming inland. They were on the 16th floor and watched in horror as it swallowed up the whole beach area, everyone and everything in its path. It came as far as the front of their building and stopped just in front of the swimming pool. They live a block and a half from the beach. They left that day, as planned, and have not been back since. They have to return eventually, as it is their apartment.
Chinese New Year is coming up so watch this space!
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