Tsunami ceremonies program unveiled

PHUKET: Beach locations in Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi have been chosen for the holding of official tsunami anniversary commemoration ceremonies on the morning of December 26.

Thailand is offering free flights and accommodation for two nights to relatives of those who died or went missing in the tsunami, and to those who were injured in the tsunami, so that they can attend the ceremonies.

Those who wish to apply for this facility should do so before November 15 through the website here. Applications will be dealt with on a first-come-first-served basis.

Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura said at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday, “I believe that at least 4,000 people will attend each ceremony.”

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Vice-Governor Niran Kalayanamit said that ceremonies will be held at Patong, Kamala and Mai Khao in Phuket, Baan Nam Khem and Baan Bang Niang in Phang Nga, and on Koh Phi Phi Don in Krabi.

The hour-long ceremonies will start at 10 am, and will include the laying of wreaths and flowers.

In the afternoon, between 3:30 pm and 5 pm, a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the Tsunami Memorial will be held on Lek Beach in Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park. It will be restricted to relatives of the dead and missing, and to VIPs.

This ceremony is expected to be chaired by HRH Princess Ubol Ratana Rajakanya. In addition, there will be a musical performance and a poetry reading by children.

This will be followed, at 6 pm, by an open ceremony on Chong Fa Beach in Baan Bang Niang, featuring an inter-faith memorial service led by Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu clerics.

Speeches are expected to be made by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and a representative of the victims. There will also be a performance by a children’s choir, and the lighting of candles and floating lanterns.

Full details and schedules of these official ceremonies may be seen on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website here.

For additional information contact the Tsunami Center at Surakul Stadium, Tel: 076-217054; at Phuket International Airport, Tel: 076-327230-5; or at the Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa, Tel: 076-370500.

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