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Friday, 26 December 2014

Boxing Day Tsunami 10 years ago

My Boxing Day 10 years ago; I was in front of the TV with a light hangover when around noon the first reports on Thai news came in about an earthquake in Phuket and possibly two or three people dead. The rest unfolded fairly quickly although it took a few days before I found out about Khao Lak.
So grateful for my family that we were on the 'other' coast.
Visited Khao Lak for the first time together with my family two months after the tsunami and it was overwhelming.

RIP to all those that perished that day.

Ban Nam Khem Tsunami memorial

The Ban Nam Khem Tsunami memorial

This post is about the two tsunami memorials I visited during my recent stay at Khao Lak, respectively the Ban Nam Khem and the Ban Namuang memorials. near Takua Pa. The Khao Lak tsunami memorial monuments have been covered frequently by me as well as the April 2012 tsunami warning in Khao Lak when I was there.

The Ban Nam Khem Tsunami memorial

The Ban Nam Khem Tsunami memorial

On a day off from my recent PADI IDC in Khao Lak I finally got around visiting the tsunami memorials in Ban Nam Khem and Ban Namuang. I heard a lot about them but never was able to visit and I was looking forward to see the memorials. With directions at hand, I took off.

The Ban Nam Khem Tsunami memorial

Tiles at the wall of the Ban Nam Khem Tsunami memorial

The Ban Nam Khem memorial site has been very well kept in order and is impressive. A wall resembling a wave is opposite another wall, which is covered in tiles with the names of the countries of the tsunami victims and some also with names of individual victims.


The Ban Nam Khem Tsunami memorial

There is also a small fishing boat in a small pond that's part of the memorial. The boat was washed on land by the wave. The picture above shows the boat as seen through a whole in the 'wave' wall.
The whole surrounding of the memorial is peaceful and quiet, next to the ocean and there's also a small museum with a few pictures of the tsunami and some panels displaying help and relieve actions after the tsunami. All very impressive.

The Ban Namuang tsunami memorial

The entrance to the the Ban Namuang tsunami memorial 

The Ban Namuang tsunami memorial is a completely different story. Although many famous world leaders have visited this memorial, including former US president Bill Clinton among others, this memorial has been neglected for many years and has been fixed again for today's memorial. 

The Ban Namuang tsunami memorial

Part of the burial grounds at the Ban Namuang tsunami memorial 

After my visit I heard a few stories about money being funneled away from the intended purposes and I have a follow up story, soon to be published about what I found here. 

The Ban Namuang tsunami memorial

The 'wave' monument at the Ban Namuang tsunami memorial with a cleaner on the left

The Ban Namuang tsunami memorial is actually a cemetery for unidentified foreigners. It' still impressive, looking at the size of the burial field but although it was being cleaned and fixed up again, it still was in a bit of a disarray. Marker stones were all over the place and not always where they were supposed to be.

The Tsunami Victim identification and repatriation Center

The Tsunami Victim identification and repatriation Center opposite the Ban Namuang cemetery

If in the neighborhood I can recommend visiting both places. Today they will be both very busy, especially at Ban Namuang where the official ceremony will take place.

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Camille

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