Krabi tsunami corpses transfered to Phuket

PHUKET: Ten refrigerated containers holding the bodies of tsunami victims from Krabi Province have been transfered to the cemetery at Mai Khao.

Five containers holding 212 bodies were brought to Phuket on Sunday and the other five arrived yesterday. The temporary mortuary in Krabi has now been closed.

The bodies, all of which are believed to belong to foreigners, will be kept at Mai Khao until they are identified and returned to relatives.

The Deputy Head of the Thai Tsunami Victim Identification Center (TTVI), Pol Col Pornprasert Karnjanarinh, said that around 3,000 bodies of people believed to be Thai, which have been kept at Wat Yan Yao and Wat Bang Muang in Phang Nga, are to be moved to a new centre at Bang Maruan, roughly halfway between the two temples.

When the Mai Khao facility opened, people in Takuapa insisted that Thai bodies should remain in Phang Nga, as it was close enough for them to be able to search for their loved ones wihout great expense, and also because they feared that, once in Phuket, the bodies might never be returned to Phang Nga.

Col Pornprasert said that once the containers holding the bodies had been removed from the two temples, the land would be returned to the monks so that they could go back to life as normal.

He added that 2,800 bodies believed to be those of foreign victims remain at Mai Khao; 872 bodies have been repatriated. In Phang Nga, however, forensic scientists are making slower progress because of a paucity of information about the bodies from relatives. So far, only 31 Thais have been identified and returned to their families.

A further complication is that it is likely that many of the bodies from Phang Nga are those of Burmese labourers. Very little is known about the Burmese and there is no one who can provide information to help identify them.

Notwithstanding the difficulties, Col Pornprasert said the TTVI investigators are determined to identify all the dead and return them to their families.

Phuket News

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