Connect with us

Phuket

Love, humanity ripples through Phuket tsunami memorial service

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

image

PHUKET: The devastating loss of hundreds of thousands of lives to the Indian Ocean Tsunami 10 years ago also brought a wave of humanity among the differing peoples of Phuket and the global community, Phuket Vice Governor Suthee Thongyam told those gathered at the Light Up Phuket memorial event on Patong Beach on Friday.

“It is a great honor to chair the Light Up Phuket event,” said Vice Governor Suthee. “We all realize that the waves took away things – peoples’ lives – that could never be replaced. We cannot even estimate the loss,” he said.

“However, in facing such a disaster, we discovered how much we cared for each other and that we would never leave each other to face such a dire situation alone.

“We were willing to help each other regardless of nationality, religion or language. It did not matter where we came from. This is the power of love and humanity… We faced the tragedy, but gained love and a way of healing the pain.”

V/Gov Suthee pointed out that much had been learned from the disaster.

“We now have a comprehensive, operational emergency-warning system. I urge everyone to enjoy their time here. We never know when a tsunami might come, but when it does come, any unusual [seismic] activity will be detected by our early-warning system,” he assured the gathered crowd.

“I would like to thank everyone for coming to this event to honor the victims and to ensure that they will never be forgotten.”

Memorial services in Phuket marking the 10th anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami began at the Tsunami Memorial Wall in Mai Khao at 8:30am, with Buddhist monks conducting a mass prayer, followed by a Muslim service and then a Christian service (story here).

Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong was unable to attend services in Phuket on Friday as he had been called to join the memorial event at Khao Lak, attended by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha and a host of international envoys.

Joining the Light Up Phuket memorial service at Patong was Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) President Paiboon Upatising and the international honorary consuls of Phuket, along with a turnout of hundreds of people.

The official death toll for Thailand from the disaster stands at more than 5,000, while the number of people still unaccounted for after the waves struck the Andaman coast remains at nearly 3,700.

Tsunami survivor Jeje Lerdsil, 25, joined her little daughter in lighting candles and placing them on the sand, as is the tradition at the Light Up Phuket event, in remembrance of that fateful day.

“I was at home with my mother that morning,” she said, with tears streaming down her face. “I was going to help my father open our beach restaurant at Kamala.

“My father called and told us that the sea looked weird, something he had never seen before. While we were on the phone, the line cut off. Suddenly people were running and shouting as big waves hit the beach.”

Fears that she had lost her father to the waves were laid to rest when he finally arrived at the family home some hours later.

“I was shocked. He said the waves washed him as far back as Phuket FantaSea, but luckily he managed to hold on to a coconut tree and survived,” Ms Jeje said.

“We were so happy that father was fine, but we lost everything: our restaurant, our rented house near the beach and our brand-new pickup truck.

“We now live in Phuket Town. We are scared of the waves and we do not want to live near the sea.”

Ms Jeje explained that she did not attend the Light Up Phuket memorial service the first year it was held, just one year after the tsunami.

“How could I? I couldn’t remove how bad it was from my mind. But I have attended the event every year since the second anniversary to honor those killed by the waves,” she said.

Swedish tourist Inghe Eric Ericsson, 60, was trapped on the first floor of a hotel near the Patong beachfront.

“People knocked on the door told me to leave the room, but I was on the first floor and stuck in my wheelchair,” he recalled.

“Water came flooding through the hotel, and people carried me upstairs to where we were safe. We had to stay there for two days without water or electricity.

“Now, I come back every year to join the memorial. Patong was a mess, but everything was okay by summer the following year.”

Somchao Khaitalay, 58, was working as a beach masseuse when the waves struck.

“I didn’t lose anyone in the waves, but my friends lost family members and one of my friends lost her leg when she was struck by a big piece of wood,” she said.

“When I saw the waves coming, I yelled out to an Australian woman, one of my customers on the beach, to run to high ground.

“I made it, but I never saw her again. I left Phuket five years ago, and, today, I came back for them.”

— Chutharat Plerin

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Looking for your next home in Thailand? Let us match you with a local expert in minutes!

Thank you for your interest!

One of our agents will
reach out to you soon.

I want to:
  • Thailand (ไทย)+66
  • United States+1
  • United Kingdom+44
  • Australia+61
  • Afghanistan (‫افغانستان‬‎)+93
  • Albania (Shqipëri)+355
  • Algeria (‫الجزائر‬‎)+213
  • American Samoa+1684
  • Andorra+376
  • Angola+244
  • Anguilla+1264
  • Antigua and Barbuda+1268
  • Argentina+54
  • Armenia (Հայաստան)+374
  • Aruba+297
  • Australia+61
  • Austria (Österreich)+43
  • Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan)+994
  • Bahamas+1242
  • Bahrain (‫البحرين‬‎)+973
  • Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ)+880
  • Barbados+1246
  • Belarus (Беларусь)+375
  • Belgium (België)+32
  • Belize+501
  • Benin (Bénin)+229
  • Bermuda+1441
  • Bhutan (འབྲུག)+975
  • Bolivia+591
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (Босна и Херцеговина)+387
  • Botswana+267
  • Brazil (Brasil)+55
  • British Indian Ocean Territory+246
  • British Virgin Islands+1284
  • Brunei+673
  • Bulgaria (България)+359
  • Burkina Faso+226
  • Burundi (Uburundi)+257
  • Cambodia (កម្ពុជា)+855
  • Cameroon (Cameroun)+237
  • Canada+1
  • Cape Verde (Kabu Verdi)+238
  • Caribbean Netherlands+599
  • Cayman Islands+1345
  • Central African Republic (République centrafricaine)+236
  • Chad (Tchad)+235
  • Chile+56
  • China (中国)+86
  • Christmas Island+61
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands+61
  • Colombia+57
  • Comoros (‫جزر القمر‬‎)+269
  • Congo (DRC) (Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo)+243
  • Congo (Republic) (Congo-Brazzaville)+242
  • Cook Islands+682
  • Costa Rica+506
  • Côte d’Ivoire+225
  • Croatia (Hrvatska)+385
  • Cuba+53
  • Curaçao+599
  • Cyprus (Κύπρος)+357
  • Czech Republic (Česká republika)+420
  • Denmark (Danmark)+45
  • Djibouti+253
  • Dominica+1767
  • Dominican Republic (República Dominicana)+1
  • Ecuador+593
  • Egypt (‫مصر‬‎)+20
  • El Salvador+503
  • Equatorial Guinea (Guinea Ecuatorial)+240
  • Eritrea+291
  • Estonia (Eesti)+372
  • Ethiopia+251
  • Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)+500
  • Faroe Islands (Føroyar)+298
  • Fiji+679
  • Finland (Suomi)+358
  • France+33
  • French Guiana (Guyane française)+594
  • French Polynesia (Polynésie française)+689
  • Gabon+241
  • Gambia+220
  • Georgia (საქართველო)+995
  • Germany (Deutschland)+49
  • Ghana (Gaana)+233
  • Gibraltar+350
  • Greece (Ελλάδα)+30
  • Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat)+299
  • Grenada+1473
  • Guadeloupe+590
  • Guam+1671
  • Guatemala+502
  • Guernsey+44
  • Guinea (Guinée)+224
  • Guinea-Bissau (Guiné Bissau)+245
  • Guyana+592
  • Haiti+509
  • Honduras+504
  • Hong Kong (香港)+852
  • Hungary (Magyarország)+36
  • Iceland (Ísland)+354
  • India (भारत)+91
  • Indonesia+62
  • Iran (‫ایران‬‎)+98
  • Iraq (‫العراق‬‎)+964
  • Ireland+353
  • Isle of Man+44
  • Israel (‫ישראל‬‎)+972
  • Italy (Italia)+39
  • Jamaica+1
  • Japan (日本)+81
  • Jersey+44
  • Jordan (‫الأردن‬‎)+962
  • Kazakhstan (Казахстан)+7
  • Kenya+254
  • Kiribati+686
  • Kosovo+383
  • Kuwait (‫الكويت‬‎)+965
  • Kyrgyzstan (Кыргызстан)+996
  • Laos (ລາວ)+856
  • Latvia (Latvija)+371
  • Lebanon (‫لبنان‬‎)+961
  • Lesotho+266
  • Liberia+231
  • Libya (‫ليبيا‬‎)+218
  • Liechtenstein+423
  • Lithuania (Lietuva)+370
  • Luxembourg+352
  • Macau (澳門)+853
  • Macedonia (FYROM) (Македонија)+389
  • Madagascar (Madagasikara)+261
  • Malawi+265
  • Malaysia+60
  • Maldives+960
  • Mali+223
  • Malta+356
  • Marshall Islands+692
  • Martinique+596
  • Mauritania (‫موريتانيا‬‎)+222
  • Mauritius (Moris)+230
  • Mayotte+262
  • Mexico (México)+52
  • Micronesia+691
  • Moldova (Republica Moldova)+373
  • Monaco+377
  • Mongolia (Монгол)+976
  • Montenegro (Crna Gora)+382
  • Montserrat+1664
  • Morocco (‫المغرب‬‎)+212
  • Mozambique (Moçambique)+258
  • Myanmar (Burma) (မြန်မာ)+95
  • Namibia (Namibië)+264
  • Nauru+674
  • Nepal (नेपाल)+977
  • Netherlands (Nederland)+31
  • New Caledonia (Nouvelle-Calédonie)+687
  • New Zealand+64
  • Nicaragua+505
  • Niger (Nijar)+227
  • Nigeria+234
  • Niue+683
  • Norfolk Island+672
  • North Korea (조선 민주주의 인민 공화국)+850
  • Northern Mariana Islands+1670
  • Norway (Norge)+47
  • Oman (‫عُمان‬‎)+968
  • Pakistan (‫پاکستان‬‎)+92
  • Palau+680
  • Palestine (‫فلسطين‬‎)+970
  • Panama (Panamá)+507
  • Papua New Guinea+675
  • Paraguay+595
  • Peru (Perú)+51
  • Philippines+63
  • Poland (Polska)+48
  • Portugal+351
  • Puerto Rico+1
  • Qatar (‫قطر‬‎)+974
  • Réunion (La Réunion)+262
  • Romania (România)+40
  • Russia (Россия)+7
  • Rwanda+250
  • Saint Barthélemy+590
  • Saint Helena+290
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis+1869
  • Saint Lucia+1758
  • Saint Martin (Saint-Martin (partie française))+590
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon (Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon)+508
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines+1784
  • Samoa+685
  • San Marino+378
  • São Tomé and Príncipe (São Tomé e Príncipe)+239
  • Saudi Arabia (‫المملكة العربية السعودية‬‎)+966
  • Senegal (Sénégal)+221
  • Serbia (Србија)+381
  • Seychelles+248
  • Sierra Leone+232
  • Singapore+65
  • Sint Maarten+1721
  • Slovakia (Slovensko)+421
  • Slovenia (Slovenija)+386
  • Solomon Islands+677
  • Somalia (Soomaaliya)+252
  • South Africa+27
  • South Korea (대한민국)+82
  • South Sudan (‫جنوب السودان‬‎)+211
  • Spain (España)+34
  • Sri Lanka (ශ්‍රී ලංකාව)+94
  • Sudan (‫السودان‬‎)+249
  • Suriname+597
  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen+47
  • Swaziland+268
  • Sweden (Sverige)+46
  • Switzerland (Schweiz)+41
  • Syria (‫سوريا‬‎)+963
  • Taiwan (台灣)+886
  • Tajikistan+992
  • Tanzania+255
  • Thailand (ไทย)+66
  • Timor-Leste+670
  • Togo+228
  • Tokelau+690
  • Tonga+676
  • Trinidad and Tobago+1868
  • Tunisia (‫تونس‬‎)+216
  • Turkey (Türkiye)+90
  • Turkmenistan+993
  • Turks and Caicos Islands+1649
  • Tuvalu+688
  • U.S. Virgin Islands+1340
  • Uganda+256
  • Ukraine (Україна)+380
  • United Arab Emirates (‫الإمارات العربية المتحدة‬‎)+971
  • United Kingdom+44
  • United States+1
  • Uruguay+598
  • Uzbekistan (Oʻzbekiston)+998
  • Vanuatu+678
  • Vatican City (Città del Vaticano)+39
  • Venezuela+58
  • Vietnam (Việt Nam)+84
  • Wallis and Futuna (Wallis-et-Futuna)+681
  • Western Sahara (‫الصحراء الغربية‬‎)+212
  • Yemen (‫اليمن‬‎)+967
  • Zambia+260
  • Zimbabwe+263
  • Åland Islands+358

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

image

Follow Thaiger by email:

image
Thailand10 mins ago

Judge Natty, Face Powder & Thai Commentary | Thaiger Bites

image
Tourism34 mins ago

Thousands of Laotian travellers arrive after Thailand pass scrapped

image
Politics52 mins ago

Goverment’s rough week: Minister with Covid-19, Parliament flood

image
Sponsored2 days ago

The ultimate holiday destination at Four Points by Sheraton Phuket Patong Beach Resort

image
image
Bangkok2 hours ago

Bangkok is the best city in Southeast Asia according to travel magazine

image
Tourism2 hours ago

Thailand tourism: 9.3 million arrivals predicted, south busy

image
Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand Tourism to Boom, is it Asia’s Amsterdam? | Weekend Update

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
image
Cannabis3 hours ago

Warning to Thai travellers: don’t take cannabis to other countries

image
Myanmar3 hours ago

Burmese military bombs Karen village, kills 2

image
Weather5 hours ago

Tropical storm capsizes ship, 27 missing near Hong Kong

image
Phuket5 hours ago

Look out for Phuket’s spider man ice cream seller

image
Tourism6 hours ago

Thailand’s Prayut ‘positive’ about expected tourist influx

image
Bangkok22 hours ago

Proposal for telecom providers to help tidy up Bangkok cables

image
Bangkok23 hours ago

Ups and downs: Man wins lottery then falls to his death down drain

image
Politics23 hours ago

Thai and Cambodian officials meet with Burmese junta

image
Tourism23 hours ago

What will be Thailand’s new tourism mix? – VIDEO

image
Thailand10 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

image
Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

image
Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

image
Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

image
Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

image
Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending

By continuing to use our site you consent to the use of cookies as described in our privacy policy.