It’s been 12 years and the world remembers the massive tsunami of 2004 and pays respect to the 226,000 victims who were killed by the giant waves across Asia and Asia-Pacific regions. But in Thailand, at least 400 bodies still remain unidentified, police said on Monday (26 December).
“Since the 2004 tsunami, authorities have contacted between 4,000 and 5,000 relatives to come and receive bodies. There are about 400 bodies that we cannot identify,” Anand Boonkerkaew, deputy superintendent of Takua Pa district police in Phang Nga province, told Reuters.
The 9.15 magnitude earthquake on 26 December 2004 triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean in of the biggest and the deadliest natural disasters in history. Thailand, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka were among the worst hit countries.
Around 5,400 people were killed in Thailand, of which some 2,000 were believed to have been foreign tourists.
“The situation was so heartbreaking at that time; the road was covered in mud, there were piles of rubbish everywhere, and small children were crying, while the adults were trying to calm themselves in the midst of calamity,” New Strait Times cited a member of Malaysia’s Civil Defence Force, Mohammed Salleh, as saying. He recalled his experience of rescuing people in tsunami hit villages in Kuala Muda, Kedah state in Malaysia, 12 years ago.
In Indonesia’s Banda Aceh province, hundreds of people, including acting governor of Aceh, Soedarmo, gathered at a mass grave of tsunami victims in Ulee Lhue region on Monday (26 December) to pray for the souls of those buried there.