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10th TSUNAMI COMMEMORATION - 26th December 2014

Tsunami Commemoration Thailand 10th anniversary

Tsunami Commemoration Thailand 10th anniversary

The programme for the 10th anniversary in Phang Nga will cover 2 days - the 26th and 27th of December. The Thai government has invited VIPs from other countries to attend the ceremony. The Foreign Ministry has invited 23 consuls from various countries.

On the 26th at 5pm, an official ceremony chaired by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha will lead foreign envoys in honoring victims of the tsunami at the Patrol Boat Tor 813 Memorial. The Prime Minister’s speech will be followed by a minute of silence and a wreath-laying ceremony. A video presentation about the recovery of affected areas will then be shown, demonstrating how communities in the Andaman have adjusted and developed emergency response steps in case another tsunami strikes. Following the presentation, there will be a series of speeches from international guests and a poetry reading. The evening will conclude with a candle-lighting ceremony.

On December 27, activities as part of the event include a visit by officials to the fishing village of Baan Nam Khem, (close to the town of Takua Pa), which serves as a model village for tsunami preparedness. There is also a tsunami Memorial Park at Baan Nam Khem. Actually there are supposed to be trips, on a voluntary basis, to two local communities.

The main Government Memorial events for the 10th anniversary in Thailand will take place at the site of the patrol boat Tor 813. It is planned to have live broadcasts through national and local media, and international media such as the BBC and CNN.

Tsunami Commemoration Thailand 10th anniversary

Meanwhile in Phuket a seminar, on the island's capacity to carry out an evacuation in the event of a future tsinami, will be held on 26th December. Also on December 26, there will be the traditional multi-faith services at the Tsunami Memorial Wall at Mai Khao in the morning, as well as the annual Light Up Phuket candlelight vigil on Patong Beach that evening.

Some of the events will be broadcast live on the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand [NBT, Thai TV Channel 11]. This will include a special documentary showing the recovery efforts in affected areas over the past 10 years, which will be screened at Patong while it is broadcast nationwide on NBT.

At the Tsunami Memorial Wall in Mai Khao, Phuket, a multi-denominational service will begin at 8:30am. Buddhist monks will conduct a mass prayer meeting, as well as Islamic and Christian services. After the religious ceremonies, attendees will approach the wall and lay wreaths in memory of those who were lost.

The annual “Light Up Phuket” ceremony will be held across from Loma Park on Patong Beach. Thousands are expected to join the event, which involves lighting candles and building sand sculptures in memory of the tsunami victims. The schedule is:
9am: Sand sculpture contest
3pm: Stage performances begin
7pm: Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong arrives and awards first place in the sand sculpture contest
7:45pm: A moment of prayer, followed by one minute of silence
7:56pm: Candle-lighting ceremony begins
8pm: Traditional Thai dance for “Light Up Phuket".
8:10pm: Singers from 10 countries take part in the song “Wonderful Grace of Jesus”
9:30pm: Final concert performance by musician Wut Jeremiah.

Tsunami Commemoration Phuket 10th anniversary

Tsunami Commemoration Phuket 10th anniversary

Tsunami Commemoration Phuket 10th anniversary

Tsunami Commemoration Phuket 10th anniversary

About 50 people were present at the Tsunami Memorial Wall in Mai Khao to honor those who died in the disaster 10 years ago. The traditional service began at 8:30am with Buddhist monks conducting a mass prayer, followed by a Muslim service and then a Christian service. After the religious ceremonies, attendees observed one minute of silence to remember their loved ones who were lost to the waves on December 26, 2004. Wreaths were laid along the wall in a ceremony starting at 10:30am.

7th TSUNAMI COMMEMORATION - 26 December 2011

2011 commemoration at Patong Beach Phuket

Memorial services on the day started with a multi-faith ceremony at the Tsunami Wall of Remembrance in Mai Khao. Those who lost loved ones and people who live in the area joined with community leaders at the ceremony, which included Buddhist, Muslim and Christian services.

The morning service began with Buddhist monks conducting a mass prayer, followed by a Muslim service and then a Christian service. The Christian part of the service was in English (with Thai translation) as usual, and led by Dana Bratton, evangelical pastor of Calvary Chapel at the Bridge, (the nearby church at the village of Baan Tha Chat Chai in Mai Khao district near Sarasin Bridge). The Buddhist and Muslim services were in Thai.

After the religious ceremonies, attendees approached the wall to lay wreaths in memory of those killed.

The addition of a new section to the Tsunami Wall of Remembrance in Mai Khao was completed in time for the memorial ceremony on December 26. The existing wall has been repainted by volunteers (as there is no maintenance budget), and the 45 country flags have been replaced and their poles repainted.

People who wish to visit the Wall of Remembrance in Mai Khao district can find it by proceeding through the police checkpoint at the north of the island. Head into the right-hand bend that follows, then turn left at an unmarked track as you come out of the bend.

A religious and memorial service was also held at the Japanese Tsunami Memorial in Kamala (opposite the Print Kamala Resort).

In the morning at Patong Beach, a panel of experts led by Dr Smith Dharmasaroj, former head of the National Disaster Warning Center and also a former head of the Thai Meteorological Department, staged a public discussion on disaster management as part of the tsunami memorial services on December 26 this year.
The discussion, focused on the theme "Disaster Learning Model: What do Thai Children Learn from Natural Disaster", was in the Thai language only.
There was also a forum concerning the future of Thailand and the tsunami by Assoc Prof Dr Seree Supharatid, director of Rangsit University's Climate Change and Disaster Center.
To close the public forums on the day, Dilok Utanut, an expert in disaster contingency planning development, led a discussion focusing on the role of the Climate Change and Disaster Centers in monitoring tsunamis.

The traditional "Light Up Phuket" candle lit ceremony was held on Patong Beach (Loma Park section) in the evening. A candle lighting ceremony took place, followed by a Thai classical mask dance from the Ramayana. .

2011 commemoration at Patong Beach Phuket

In Khao Lak, foreigners and Thais, who are relatives of tsunami victims, gathered at Baan Nam Khem Memorial Park, at the fishing village of Baan Nam Khem north of Khao Lak, to commemorate the 2004 tsunami. Buddhist, Muslim and Christian rituals were held. Lanterns were released in the evening.
There was also a simple service at the site of the washed ashore police boat Tor 813 at Bang Niang, Khao Lak.

In Krabi province, there was a merit-making ceremony on Phi Phi Island and flowers were laid in commemoration for the dead. Multifaith ceremonies were held. They observed one minutes silence and gave stainless steel wreaths to an environmental conservation club to lay on the 20 metre deep sea floor, about 800 metres from Phi Phi Island.

On 26th Decemeber 2004, in the six provinces along the Andaman coast, namely Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Ranong, Trang and Satun, 5,395 people died, including Thais and foreigners.

The Thai cabinet designates December 26th every year as National Disaster Prevention Day.

6th TSUNAMI COMMEMORATION - 26 December 2010

The services commenced at the Tsunami Wall of Remembrance at Mai Khao from 08.30am to noon. Activities included a multi-faith ceremony, one minute of silence and laying of wreaths.

The service at the Tsunami Monument at Kamala Beach were presided over by the Phuket Japaneses Assocation from 11.10am.

At Loma Park, Patong Beach, there was the 'Light Up Phuket' event. Drawing and painting competitions for all ages took place from 1pm to 5pm. From 5pm, there was a traditional Thai musical performance, a recital of a tsunami memorial poem, one minute of silence, a mass prayer, the lighting of candles and wreath laying on Patong Beach, and a performance of a Khon play.

2010 commemoration at Patong Beach Phuket

On 24th December, Phuket also staged full scale tsunami drills.

Scores of emergency rescue workers took part in two hours of search-and-rescue drills at Saphan Hin. Participation was limited to emergency medical and rescue personnel, along with a few volunteers.

The drill followed a two day training camp in command post exercises at the DDPM Academy in Phuket Town, on the 22nd and 23rd.

The training continued at Phuket International airport in the afternoon of 24th December. A staging area and field hospital were set up to co-ordinate evacuation to medical facilities aboard a specially equipped C-130 transport plane.

5th TSUNAMI COMMEMORATION - 26 December 2009

2009 commemoration at Patong Beach Phuket

In Phuket, there was a wreath laying ceremony for families of victims from 46 nations at the Wall of Remembrance in Mai Khao (near the airport) between 08.30 and 12.00 in the morning. The Mayor of Mai Khao made a speech at 08.30am. This was followed by Buddhist, Muslim and Christian prayers and one minute's silence.

There were also multi-faith ceremonies comprising Buddhist, Sikh and Muslim in the morning at the Tsunami Memorial Park in Kamala (opposite the Prince Kamala resort) from 09.00 am. The Christian ceremony was held here in the evening.

In addition there was a Buddhist religious ceremony at Loma Park (north end of Patong Beach, Phuket) in the morning from 08.00 to 12.00 hrs, including a condolence message from the Prime Minister to be read out. A one-minute period of silence followed at 10.10am. There was also an exhibition on disaster risk reduction to educate members of the public.
9.30am Ceremony begins
9.45am Phuket Governor arrives
9.50am Speech by Patong's Mayor
10am Governor reads letter from PM
10.10am Silent remembrance
10.15am Buddhist, Muslim and Christian prayer services begin
11am Making merit for monks at Laempet temple, Patong

There was an evening ceremony (the Light up Phuket event) at Loma Park, Patong between 17.00 and 19.30 hrs. The Phuket Scholastic Orchestra played some musical compositions, followed by a choir. Candles were lit and lanterns were released along the sands at Patong Beach.
4.30pm People gather
5pm Memorial bands play
6.10pm Officials arrive
6.15pm Speech by CEO, Phuket Administrative Organisation
6.25pm Massed voices of 100 choir members
6.35pm Poem recital
6.55pm Wreaths laid
7pm Candles lit along the beach front, band plays memorial music concert

Phuket also held Tsunami evacuation drills by the Royal Thai Air Force between 22nd to 25th December.
Medical personnel, rescue and search teams from 14 southern provinces of Thailand attended a training workshop in Phuket to learn about EMS - Emergency Medical Services management for Disaster Medical Assistant Teams or DMAT during December 22-24 (at the Phuket Merlin hotel) before taking part in the comprehensive exercise on December 25th. The event was arranged as part of activities in recognition of Thailand National Day for Disaster Prevention which falls on December 26th, the day the tsunami hit the Indian Ocean in 2004. The participants enhanced their skills to assist people with medical attention, transferal procedures and reduce risks of fatal cases. The Phuket International Airport's multi-purpose hall was designed as a staged care unit.
The exercise was planned to simulate a Tsunami situation with some people stranded and an air transfer drill. All related personnel and Disaster Medical Assistant Teams were expected to take action at their full strength to test out preparedness for both personnel and equipment. Medical teams had a chance to practice setting up an emergency field hospital and transporting patients to the plane.

Phuket evacuation drill 25 December 2009

The 10.00am Christmas Day simulation, organized by the Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO), focused on long-distance evacuation of tsunami casualties. Medical staff from the 14 southern provinces, Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation officials, local rescue foundation workers and staff from Phuket's six hospitals all took part. The exercise centered on Phuket International Airport. Medical staff were divided into Disaster Medical Assistant Teams (DMATs), each with one doctor, two nurses and two assistants. Seven DMATs were prepared to take care of patients, one from each hospital on the island except for Vachira Phuket, which had two. A Staging Care Unit (SCU) was set up at the airport to take care of patients who could not be treated at island hospitals. The Royal Thai Air Force used a C-130 transport airplane to fly six 'patients' in critical condition to a hospital in Nakhon Sri Thammarat.

It has been reported that nationwide, 500,000 monks throughout the country commemorated the fifth anniversary. The monks gathered throughout the country's 76 provinces.

In Phang Nga, a 1,000 Buddhist monks alms presentation took place in the early morning at 6 am in the main street in front of the police station at the town of Takua Pa (north of Khao Lak).

Also in Phang Nga, the main locations for the commemorative events were:-

- at the small fishing village of Ban Nam Khem
Memorial services were arranged at the Tsunami memorial park in Ban Nam Kem with three faith ceremonies from 10 am.
Scores of photos of family and friends formed the centrepiece of the occasion. Education Minister Jurin Laksanavisit, chairman of the ceremony, laid a wreath in front of the picture of Khun Poom Jensen, Princess Ubolratana's son, who died in the tsunami. Monks and priests chanted and prayed for the victims.
Elsewhere in Nam Khem, a tsunami safety centre is being constructed, with broad exterior stairways and about four levels of sanctuary. Nearby, the Nam Khem wat has a new white-painted temple.

- the site where the police patrol boat TOR 813 washed ashore on Petchkasem Road, Khao Lak (Bang Niang)
A remembrance ceremony was held here at 6.30 pm with interfaith ceremonies. The Education Minister presided over the candle lighting ceremony and the release of lanterns here.

- and the cemetery at Bang Maruan.
The police department held a floral remembrance ceremony at 11.00am at Bang Maruan cemetery, where nameless victims are buried.
Representatives of 13 ambassadors observed a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cemetery. Pol Lt Gen Danai Wongthai laid wreaths and paid his respects to the 398 unidentified victims whose bodies are buried there. Also in attendence were Thailand's Education Minister, Jurin Laksanavisit, the Swedish Ambassador, Lennart Linner, Phuket Danish Consul Kenneth B.R. Karlsson, and briefly, the US Vice Consul Charles C. Carson. The Governor of Phang Nga, Yiamsuriya Palusukm, was also there.
The diplomats met with Police Lieutenant General Danai Wongthai, assistant commissioner of the Office of Forensic Science, which oversees the work of the Thai Tsunami Victim Identification unit, and a large representation of present and former identification unit staff.

In Krabi four religious and wreath laying ceremonies took place at Phi Phi Island. It had been arranged by the local government of Ao Nang. At 1pm, an evacuation drill was performed by 100 people at the Bt15 million tsunami evacuation building, which was formally opened on 26th December 2009.

For information on the Tsunami Warning System for the Indian Ocean please click on this link:-
Tsunami Early Warning Sytem for the Indian Ocean

TSUNAMI - 4th Anniversary 26 December 2008

(left and right) - Wall of Remembrance Phuket

The Thai government has designated the date of 26th December as National Disaster Prevention Day.

The Phuket authority held religious ceremonies and commemorative events in at least four main locations.

In the morning there was a religious ceremony at the Loma (Dolphin) public park on the beach front in Patong. This event was presided over by Phuket Governor Preecha Ruangjan, who affirmed that the province's nineteen tsunami warning towers were in full operation and effective. Many families of Thai and foreign tsunami victims, and representatives from the Netherlands Embassy in Bangkok, were in attendance. Khun Preecha Ruangjan led the participants in the prayer session and observed a one minute silence in respect of the victims. Some foreign participants who were survivors told their stories. Buddhist monks chanted prayers while school children played traditional Thai instruments

The 'Light Up Phuket' ceremony was held in the evening at Patong Beach on the stretch of beach opposite Loma park. The Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya was to attend the 'Light Up Phuket'.

At the Mai Khao Wall of Remembrance, a simple multi-faith religious and wreath laying ceremony for victims from 46 countries took place in the morning. One minute of silence was observed here. The Phuket Vice Governor Tri Akkaradecha led the participants to lay wreaths and flowers at the Wall.

A religious ceremony and commemorative event was held in the morning at a public park in Kamala, north of Patong. On Kamala beach a religious ceremony was held at a public park with locals and visitors attending. They also offered alms to Buddhist monks. Nearby, at a Memorial stone which was built by the Japanese Association in Phuket, Japanese residents and tourists attended a religious ceremony for the victims.

The fourth location was at Bang Duk hill in Mai Khao.

There was also blood donations at Graceland Resort and Spa hotel.

All the the ceremonies focused on simplicity in respect of victims, while raising public awareness for a safe community.

In accordance with the concept of National Disaster Prevention Day there were a few exhibitions and activities designed to raise public awareness for disasters.
A workshop was set up to manage emergency medical services (EMS) (which involves air transfer through the multi-purpose building at Phuket airport as a staging care unit and EMS incident command centre).
The Thai Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation and Phuket province conducted an evacuation exercise by airlifting and transferring injured from a supposed tsunami to be treated at a field hospital. The drill ran on December 23rd as part of a workshop during December 22-26th at the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation College in Bangjo (Thalang district). The drill tested out preparedness of Emergency Medical Service teams involving all related personnel. Two helicopters were used during the training exercise - one helicoptor from the Royal Thai Navy Third Command area, the another one was privately owned by Bangkok Phuket Hospital. The scenario supposed that injured persons are stranded at Phuket's outlying islands and got airlifted for treatment at Phuket airport with some of the injured to be transferred to Bangkok.
The exercise was also aimed at promoting public awareness in disaster prevention and risk reduction.

The Thai government officially designated Patong Beach, Phuket as the main location for memorial services but Phang Nga and Krabi (Phi Phi islands) provinces will also hold local services.

In Phang Nga province the following services were planned:-
  At the Bang Muruan Thai Tsunami Victim Identification Centre and Cemetry in Takua Pa, there are still nearly four hundred unclaimed bodies, which have been kept in stainless steel containers, 1.5 metres underground. Commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the tsunami to be held at the cemetry this year will be a low-key event with only a religious ceremony. There will be neither wreath laying nor a band playing.
  At Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial Park, the local Bang Muang authorities and the tusnami victim network will conduct joint religious ceremonies (Buddhist, Christian and Muslim).
  A ceremony took place at the marine police vessel Tor 813 in KhaoLak at 8.30 am.
  In addition, a ceremomy commemorating the life of Khun Poom Jensen, son of Princess Ubolratana, eldest daughter of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, will also be held.
  It is anticipated that Education Minister Jurin Laksanawisit would preside over the ceremonies. Floating lanterns, to commemorate those who lost their lives, will be released at 6 pm

At Phi Phi Island there was a multi-faith religious ceremonies plus a wreath laying at the underwater Tsunami memorial underneath the sea off Phi Phi Island.

TSUNAMI - 3rd Anniversary 26 December 2007

Buddhist ceremony at Loma Park Patong, and the Wall of remembrance at Mai Khao

On the 3rd anniversary of the tsunami a low-key but dignified memorial service was held at Loma (Dolphin) Park, on Patong Beach, from 10.00 - 10.30 am. The formal Buddhist ceremony was led by 108 monks, who chanted prayers and scriptures to appease the lost souls. The participants then offered alms or food and drink to the monks bowls, to make merit, for those families and friends long departed.
Phuket deputy governor Tri Akkaradecha presided over the events and paid tribute to the victims. There were speeches and a minute's silence.
The student winners of a painting contest about the tsunami were presented with prizes and plaques by the Thai Red Cross Society, in a symbol of hope and optimism for their future.

In Kamala, the Japanese Association of Phuket held a simple ceremony from 10.00am led by their Ambassador to Thailand, at the Kamala Tsunami Memorial (next to the Kamala Beach hotel).

At the Tsunami Wall of Remembrance, in Mai Khao, the victims' details have been arranged alphabetically according to their nationalities. A flower wreath was laid under each country's name. Buddhist monks dressed in saffron orange chanting prayers and Muslim leaders dressed in white, paid their respects.

In the evening, a more lively ceremony was held, again at Patong's Loma Park. This event was organised by the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation ( OrBorJor ), and included school brass bands and songs from students of Tessabaan Baan Samkong school. The main guest of honour was the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Dr Suvit Yodmani, and he was joined by the Swedish Ambassador to Thailand, Mr Lennart Linner and the Phuket Vice Governor Tri Akkaradecha, plus other junior diplomats and Consul Generals.
There were speeches and a minutes silence was observed by all attendees in a solemn mark of respect to the victims of the tsunami.
Officials laid yellow wreaths of flowers at a bamboo statute cloaked by two white angels lit by bowls of candles and softly serenaded by a violinist.
In a symbolic gesture, to light up Phuket and its spirits, the officials and friends and families of the victims lit the first of thousands of ceromonial candles on the beach. The candles were grouped into numerous heart shaped arrangements, to show love and respect for all the tsunami victims.

TSUNAMI - Two Years On

At Loma Park, Patong Beach more than seven hundred mourners attended a memorial ceremony and paid tribute on the second anniversary of the tsunami, led by 99 monks from nearby Laem Petch Temple.

Phuket Governor Niran Kanlayanamit was joined by other provincial officers, including Suwalai Pinpradab (Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand's Southern Region 4 office), Patong Mayor Pian Keesin and Aroon Kerdsom (Chief of the Phuket Provincial Office of Disaster Prevention Mitigation).

The service was mostly conducted in silence, with only the sounds of the monks praying and the waves on the beach to be heard.

In the evening, more than one thousand people amassed at Loma Park for the "Light Up Phuket 2006" ceremony to commemorate two years since the tsunami. The ceremony was opened by a speech from Tourism and Sports Minister Suwit Yodmanee. Local children (students from Ban Sam Kong school, and a student from Satree Phuket school) sang songs in memory of those lost to the tsunami waves. There was a one minute silence. After which, K. Suwit then led attendees in laying wreaths on the beach. Some 20,000 candles were lit in the sand, and white roses were distributed to remember the victims.

A sign on Patong Beach simply read "Remembering our friends, Dec. 26 2004"

There was also a memorial service at Kamala Beach and wreath laying took place at the Wall of Remembrance.

In Khaolak there were four ceremonies including an evening one at Bang Niang beach which was presided over by Princess Ubolratana.

Patong Beach, Phuket - Tsunami Day 26th December 2006

To mark the second anniversary of the tsunami tragedy, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Phuket Provincial Administration Office and Patong Municipality will jointly host ceremonies on 26 December to remember and honour those who fell victim to the December 2004 tsunami.

Morning Tsunami Day Memorial Services
09.30 Visitors and guests assemble at Loma Park, Patong Beach
09.45 Address by Chief of Patong Municipality
09.50 Tsunami Day memorial service
Guests remember and honour those who lost their lives in a merit-making ceremony.
10.00 A Buddhist merit-making and blessing ritual is performed by nine monks.
10.20 Participants make merit-making offerings to the monks.
10.30 The Buddhist monks offer blessings.
18.00 Visitors and guests assemble at Loma Park, Patong Beach
Welcome Ceremony
18.10 Arrival of H.E. Dr. Suvit Yodmani, Minister of Tourism and Sports.

Chief Executive of the Phuket Provincial Administration Office (PAO) presents a welcome address
18.15 Address by the Minister of Tourism and Sports
18.20 Performance by the Ban Sam Thong School choir
18.30 Wreath-laying and Candle-Lighting Ceremony

H.E. Dr. Suvit Yodmani, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Chief Executive of the Phuket Provincial Administration Office and Chief of Patong Municipality will lead guests in a remembrance ceremony.

Flowers and floral wreaths will be laid, candles will be lit and traditional khome loi floating lanterns will be released in memory of the deceased.
 End of Tsunami Day memorial ceremonies

Contact information:
TAT Southern Region 4
Tel: +66 (0) 76 212213, (0) 76 211036
Tel: +66 (0) 2 2505500
Fax: +66 (0) 76 213582
E-mail: tatphket@tat.or.th

Tsunami memorial services at Kamala, Phuket

This event has been organised by the Phuket Japanese Association. It will be held at the Andaman Tsunami Victims Monument at Kamala Beach on Tuesday 26th December 2006, from 12:40 pm to 4 pm. Formal dress is requested for attendees.

The ceremony schedule is as follows:

12:40 pm-1:20 pm: Guest registration.
1:20 pm: Mourning ceremony, a minute of silence for the victims.
1:35 pm: Speech by Kazushi Miyashita, President of the Phuket Japanese Association.
1:40 pm: Speech and eulogy from Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit. Eulogy from Hideaki Kobayashi, the Japanese Ambassador to Thailand. Eulogy from Tetsuji Banno, President of the Japan Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok. Eulogy from Panlop Thi-aree, of the World Fellowship of Buddhists.
2 pm-2:35 pm: Japanese monk blessing ceremony.
2:50 pm-4 pm: Finale and refreshments.

Tsunami Wall of Remembrance - Mai Khao, Phuket

The Wall of Remembrance has recently been renovated, and painted in white with attached names of the victims and flags from 45 nations on the wall.

In the morning, of 26th Decemeber 2006, there will be a religious ceremony with chanting from the monks. They will receive relatives of the victims who will be coming to pay respect and place wreaths, on the 2nd anniversary of the tsunami.

The Mai Khao cemetery used to be the central identification area for bodies of the victims, before the remainder of the unidentified bodies were later moved to Ban Bang Maruan cemetery (close to the town of TakuaPa).

TSUNAMI - Remembrance Ceremony - One Year in Memory of Tsunami

Several thousand Thais, and foreign survivors and relatives of those who lost their lives held a minute of silence as they marked the first anniversary of the tsunami disaster on 26th December.

In Phuket, the Government sponsored memorial took place at Patong, Kamala and Mai Khao. The long memorial wall at Mai Khao was adorned with teddy bears and other children's toys commemorating the victims.

In the afternoon and early evening of the 26th, the memorial focused on nearby Khao Lak in Phang Nga province, where the majority of the tsunami casualties occurred.

There had been a weekend of smaller services including candelight vigils, simple prayers and floral tributes. Mourners threw red roses and purple orchids into the sea, embracing each other as the waves carried the floral offerings back to shore and where wreaths were laid on the sand.

In the evening, at 7.10pm, on Patong Beach, Thais and foreign tourists took part in lighting up some 100,000 candles in memory of those killed by the tsunami. The candles lit up about three kilometers of the beach in the Light-up Patong ceremony.

Light-up Patong ceremony

Tsunami   Remembrance   Ceremony   Information

In memory and honor of victims we lost, to celebrate life for those who survived, and in gratitude of the generosity and sympathy extended to Thailand in the aftermath of the tsunami, the Royal Thai Government will host a commemorative ceremony on 26th December 2005. Next-of-kin of victims/missing persons and the injured are cordially invited to attend the interfaith memorial service and the Laying of the Tsunami Memorial Foundation Stone Ceremony in remembrance of the lost souls. Many of the injured and next of kin will stay as guests of the Thai government.

Between 10.00am - 11.00am on 26th December 2005, simultaneous memorial ceremonies will take place at six venues:
- Patong Beach, Kamala Beach and Mai Khao Memorial Wall (Phuket).
- Phi Phi Islands (Krabi province)
- Bang Niang Beach ( Khaolak ) and Baan Namkem (between Khaolak and Takuapa)

The Tsunami Memorial Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony will take place at Haad Lek Beach (small beach), KhaoLak-Lamru National Park. This is a very small cove on the headland just south of the Park HQ. This event will be presided over by the Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra at between 3.30pm and 5.00pm (VIPs and next-of-kin only). Five finalist memorial designs, submitted by Thais and foreigners will be presented. The Prime Minister will lay a foundation stone. HRH Princess Ubol Ratana Rajakanya will be an honored guest and will deliver an address. There will be a musical performance and a poetry reading by children.

The Inter-faith open memorial service (Buddhism, Christianity (Roman Catholic & Protestant), Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism) will take place at 18.00 hrs at Chong Fah Beach (Bang Niang, Khaolak)

About 1,700 foreign guests and 5,000 Thais are expected to join these events. In addition fifty national leaders and other international personalities, including former US president Bill Clinton, are expected to attend.

Tourism and sports (eg. an international food festival, an international fireworks competition, world tennis competition including stars such as Serena Williams & Lindsay Davenport, cross year marathon, and Tour of Siam 2006 international bike race) are highlights of the second part of the commemoration, from 27th December 2005 to 3rd January 2006, in which Phuket will feature largely.

The world's biggest cartoon book "Hope after Tsunami Disaster" will also be produced.

Please follow the links below for additional information and the tentative program of events:

Thai Government Public Relations Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Phuket remembers

Tsunami Memorial design competition

The deadline for registration for the Tsunami Memorial design competition was 15th November 2005, and the deadline for submission of designs was 6th December 2005. Designs were submitted from 379 individuals and teams, from 43 countries. The names of the top five design team countries, which were announced on 15th December 2005 at Le Meridien Khao Lak Beach & Spa Resort, are Australia, China, Finland, Spain and USA. Each of the five teams received one million baht for making it into the final of the design competition. A conference was held from 21st January to 24th January to further discuss the memorial project, and any amendments by the finalists had to be submitted to the international panel of judges by 2nd May 2006.

On 18th May 2006, the results were officially announced. A Spanish based team, in collaboration with Phuket based Naga Concepts (Thailand) Co. Ltd was the winner with their design "Mountains of Remembrance". They will receive the contract from the Thai government to work on the memorial itself. The winning design will be showcased in an exhibition in Bangkok from 1st to 15th June 2006.

The Spanish-Thai design was chosen over entries from four other finalists, from Finland (runners up), Australia, USA and China. The jury made their decision after considering feedback from visitors to the Architect '06 exhibition in Bangkok in May, and from local people surveyed at Takuapa District office.

Haad Lek beach Khao Lak and the Winning Spanish design - Mountains of Remembrance

The winning design is intended to represent "a temple hidden in forest, light, nature and silence". It will recreate an artificial piece of nature, integrated into the Khao Lak Lamru National Park. The scheme combines references from several cultures and religions, and provides an iconic landmark and place of reflection for the families of victims and survivors of the tsunami disaster as well as for the general public.

Haad Lek beach Khao Lak and Mountains of Remembrance

A path through the forest, with meeting points and resting areas, will lead to the memorial site and then to the sea. At the highest point, five towers will be erected in a cluster:-     the Memorial tower (for reflection and meditation), the Museum tower (with a lookout platform), the Warning Centre (for education), the Amphitheatre tower (for presentations), and the Restaurant and Shop tower (for relaxation).

Please click on this link for the Tsunami Memorial design competition.

Tsunami memorial in Kamala

On 22nd July 2006, the tsunami memorial in Kamala was officially unveiled. Kamala was one of the two towns in Phuket worst hit by the December 26 2004 tsunami, the other being Patong. The memorial, which forms the centre piece of a new park in the town, is a 10-meter-high metal sculpture called Jitt Jakawan (Heart of the Universe), designed and built by Thai sculptor Udon Jiraksa.

Tsunami Memorial in Kamala
Underwater Tsunami memorial at the Phi Phi islands

On 30th September 2006, Thailand's first underwater tsunami memorial was laid down on the seabed in Tonsai Bay, off Ko Phi Phi Don. The memorial, which is a project of the Transport Ministry, Thai Airways and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, lies at a depth of 20 meters.

The memorial laying service was attended by the Ministry of Transport led by Permanent Secretary Mr. Wanchai Sarathulthat, together with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand deputy governor. The organizing Ministry of Transport was one of the government agencies which played a significant part in search and rescue missions, as well as salvage and removal operations after the tsunami. The Ministry received voluntary cooperation and technical support from many local highly skilled and dedicated scuba divers. Representatives from England, France, China, Taiwan, Korea and Italy also took part in the memorial dedication ceremony, The guests were also given a tour of the island's new wastewater-treatment plant, funded by the Danish government, as well as the new tsunami warning towers and an onshore tsunami memorial garden.

The monument comprises three large granite markers, each 150 centimeters in height and arranged to form an equilateral triangle, with a smaller 80cm high granite marker standing in the centre.

The three main pyramid-shaped granites have square bases, and are set in a triangular pattern to represent the elements of earth, wind and water. The triangulation indicates the natural balance between these elements. Each face of the pyramid granites are engraved with memorial statements from the embassies (in Thailand) of countries whose citizens lost their lives in the tsunami. The foundations of the pyramids are engraved with words of wisdom from various philosophers to remind us of the right way of living.

The distance between each of the three main markers is 5,395cm and corresponds to the number of victims whose names and nationalities were identified. Three yellow buoys on the water surface indicate the position of the granites.

The smaller granite stand, in the middle, has a narrative description of the tsunami event of 26 December 2004, and represents a human who is surrounded by the elements of earth water and air.

In addition, a Thai style pavilion (sala) can be seen in a northerly direction from this underwater monument. The sala, which was built from wood collected from the tsunami wreckage, lies at a distance of 2,874cm from the memorial site. The distance represents the number of victims whose identity could not be determined.

Tsunami underwater memorial at Phi Phi islands (courtesy of PhuketGazette)
One hundred day memorial ceremonies

On 4th April 2005, in keeping with the Buddhist tradition of releasing the spirit of the deceased 100 days after death, many memorial ceremonies were held across the country. During the ceremony, a minute of silence was observed at the time the first wave struck on December 26. Each person present then released a white balloon with a white paper tail - a representation of the human spirit.

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