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Thailand's tsunami involved both tragedy and triumph of the human spirit

Phuket Tsunami Hospital Conference a Step in the Right Direction

Friday, October 17, 2014
PHUKET: A two-day international seminar on how to cope with a tsunami is being held on Phuket in December - with the overall plan for marking the tenth anniversary of the big wave still unclear.

The gathering on Phuket has been organised by Bangkok Hospital Phuket, a facility that played a major role in dealing with Thailand's biggest natural disaster on December 26, 2004.

How would Thailand cope with another tsunami? That appears to be the underlying message of the conference, scheduled for December 10-11 and expected to attract up to 300 people to the Metropole Hotel in Phuket City.

Phuketwan has been known to fret that not enough attention has been paid to learning the lessons from the catastrophe that killed 5400 people, approximately half of them tourists and non-Thais, along the Andaman coast that unforgettable Sunday morning.

The agenda for the hospital's event gives the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation a forum for explaining what precautions have been taken to make sure, in the unlikely event of a second tsunami arriving, that all lives can be saved.

The Minister of Public Health is being invited to open the event.

A delegation of medical experts from Japan will deal with the lessons from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, which also triggered a tsunami.

A formal announcement from the hospital in Phuket City, which has its own tsunami memorial gallery, is expected soon.

Phuketwan has helped three international documentary makers with their tsunami 10th anniversary projects and is fielding calls almost daily from journalists all over the world.

The tsunami was a terrible event but it made Phuket a household name around the globe.

What the Thai government has in mind 10 years on, though, remains a mystery.

With the tragedy affecting people from more than 40 countries, a large number of ambassadors in Bangkok are awaiting word on what the government plans across Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi, the three worst-hit provinces.

By our reckoning, Phuket has had six or seven governors since then and most of the people who were intimately involved in dealing with the disaster have moved on, which is why conferences like the one organised by the Bangkok Hospital Phuket are so important for collective memory.

Phuketwan has also suggested that beyond the disaster of the big wave, there was courage, generosity and a collective spirit to overcome adversity.

All that was special about Thailand's reaction to the tsunami deserves to be celebrated with tenth anniversary medallions going to those who showed bravery and exceptional grace under fire.

It's an opportunity that won't come again. Time is running out fast.

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There is also a movie called "The Impossible" based on treu events about the Tsunami in Thailand that gives a good perspective on the impact a Tsunami can bring as the words in the article says: generosity and a collective spirit.

Posted by ThailandFan on October 18, 2014 00:15


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