Victims’ relatives attend religious services for tsunami dead

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PHANG-NGA, Dec 26 —   Thai and foreign relatives of those who died in the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami along the Andaman coast on Friday performed religious services for their loved ones as many still saw the disaster day the nightmare for them.

The 2004 tsunami killed more than 220,000 people, most of them in the northern Indonesian province of Aceh. Thousands of people were also killed in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and India.

More than 5,000 people died in Thailand alone on that day.

Foreign relatives of those killed and villagers of Baan Nam Khem in Phang-nga province early today offered alms to monks in merit making while many were seen laying wreaths at the Tsunami Memorial. At Takua Pa Hospital, doctors, nurses and the hospital staff offered dried food to 19 monks to bless the souls of those who had passed away in the disaster a decade ago.

A total of 482 foreigners and 504 Thais received treatment at the hospital during the event.

At Mai Khao cemetery in Phuket’s Thalang district, three religious services were performed — Buddhist, Christian and Muslim.

Those attending the services stood in silence for victims of 45 nationalities including Swedish, British, American, German and Japanese.

As a number of southern provinces are encountering heavy rains, poor villagers in the North and Northeast, especially in Nakhon Phanom province bordering Laos is quite cold early today with temperatures dropping to about 12 degree Celsius.

Authorities in Nakhon Phanom have declared eight districts disaster zones.

Villagers in Amnat Charoen province had to sit around bonfires to keep themselves warm.

Provincial authorities will announce the province as a disaster zone if the temperature drops lower than 15 degrees Celsius for more than three consecutive days so that a budget can be allocated to buy blankets and other necessities for the villagers.