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In Memoriam: the Boxing Day Tsunami

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Sitting at my resort in Phang Nga province in Southern Thailand a few weeks ago, I was quietly having my breakfast and my thoughts turn to the tragic events 15 years earlier. I was staying at a resort that was badly hit by the devastating 2004 tsunami.

A personal refection by long time Thailand resident Andrew J Wood who recently visited the area in Thailand that was badly devastated by the tragic events on the 26th December 2004
 
The resort was flattened by the huge 15-metre high wave that made landfall all along the beaches of Khao Lak.
15 years later the resorts have been rebuilt – the area is renown for its beautiful white sandy beaches and is once again filled with tourists, mainly from Europe escaping the winter weather of the northern hemisphere.
Unfortunately very few Thais visit now – they still remember the saddness and death.
The sea here is very shallow which enabled a massive wave to build unhindered from its origins in Sumatra and wiped out everything including 400 guests and alot of the the hotel staff on duty – they all perished on that fateful boxing day morning.
There was no where to go, no where to hide. All trees were flattened and all buildings were mostly low-rise. It was Thailand’s first great tsunami, there were no systems in place. Today tsunami warning towers with huge sirens allowing hotels and resorts 1 hour to evacuate by bus to higher ground. They practice every year. Not surprisingly it is taken very seriously and everyone pays close attention.

I feel sadness but also thankful that life has returned and the tourists.

I’m also blessed to be-able to experience it’s rejuvenation. It reminds me of the phrase carpe diem – seize the day.
Everyday is a gift.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who suffered loss, and to all those unsung heroes, many of them tourists, tour guides and hotel staff, caught up in the chaos on that fateful day – my thanks.
Story and Pictures
by
Andrew J Wood