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28 Dec, 2004

Tsunami Update 5: More Status Reports From Around The Region

Latest announcements, appeals and updates from around the region.

Latest announcements, appeals and updates from the Asian Development Bank, Asia/Pacific Movement for Debt and Development and Freedom from Debt Coalition of the Philippines, Phatra Securities and Merrill Lynch, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thai Airways International, Association of Thai Travel Agents, Hotel Vogue Pranang Bay Resort and Spa, Sheraton Krabi, Indonesia, India and Etihad Airways.



FROM ROBERT MAUNDER, MALLORCA, SPAIN: I am following the British TV every moment but your reports are immensely valuable and go towards answering so many questions for someone like myself who is feeling so hopeless at not being in the position or place to help the pain of an area and its people I have greatly enjoyed and love. I just cannot express the sensation of sadness for those people affected throughout the vast region. Thanks for your reports.



MANILA, PHILIPPINES (28 December 2004) – ADB has offered to extend immediate assistance to the countries afflicted by the huge earthquake and subsequent tidal wave (tsunami). ADB President Tadao Chino has expressed deepest sympathy for this human tragedy in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

He assured the governments of affected countries of ADB’s fullest support and cooperation in “alleviating the suffering brought about by the devastating earthquake and Tsunami and restoring normalcy to the affected areas.” ADB teams from its country resident missions are in close coordination with government officials and humanitarian teams to assess needs and make plans to assist. Mr. Chino also committed ADB to collaborate closely with its many international and domestic partners to mobilize the resources and expertise needed to get the countries back on track.

“With the toll still rising, it is too early to make a clear assessment on the impact this disaster will have on lives and livelihoods, infrastructure, and national and local economies,” Mr. Chino said in a statement today. “What is clear is that this is a massive tragedy that has exacted a terrible human cost. Often the most vulnerable in disasters such as this are the poor. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with all the people affected. ADB stands ready to offer immediate and effective assistance to them and their governments to address the consequences of this natural disaster.”

He said ADB could help address immediate short-term requirements, repair critical basic services, and furnish essential equipment and supplies. It could also provide rapid assistance to rehabilitate priority water services, power, transport, and communication infrastructure, he said.

ADB’s assistance complements international, government and private humanitarian relief efforts, Mr. Chino said. ADB can draw upon extensive experience in emergency rehabilitation assistance following natural disasters. In recent years, ADB provided assistance to Gujarat, India, in the immediate wake of a devastating earthquake in 2001, and earlier this year, flood relief work in Bangladesh.


ANNOUNCEMENT FROM JUBILEE SOUTH – APMDD (Asia/Pacific Movement for Debt and Development) and Freedom from Debt Coalition of the Philippines

In the face of Debt and Disaster: Long-lasting Relief for the Peoples of the South!

We express our deepest sympathy and solidarity for the peoples of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and many other South countries who are currently suffering from the devastation unleashed by the tsunami last December 26. We cannot overemphasize how profoundly saddened we are by the climbing death toll, numbering over 25,000 as of this writing, and the many thousand others missing or injured, the destruction of property, the loss of livelihoods and the widespread dislocation of communities.

The Philippines was also severely hit by super-typhoons in the last few weeks, leading to the death of more than 1,000 people, the destruction of over 10,000 hectares of farmlands, and rendering 53,000 families homeless and without access to clean water.

Now, more than ever, at their hour of greatest need, the peoples of the South must be heeded in their long-standing demand for debt cancellation. In the face of this massive destruction, northern and international creditors should not continue to hold South peoples in bondage for debts that have in large part, only contributed to their impoverishment and deprivation.

If there is any measure of sincerity in the outpouring of compassion from North governments for the peoples of the South, let this be through concrete action – In addition to emergency relief operations and rehabilitation, what we need immediately is: UNCONDITIONAL DEBT CANCELLATION NOW!

Southern governments should not continue to prioritize debt service, and squander much needed public funds: STOP PAYING ONEROUS and ILLEGITIMATE DEBTS! Prioritize relief and rehabilitation, basic social services, clean and safe water, and other human development programs!



(From a report issued by Phatra Securities Company Limited, under a research co-operation agreement with Merrill Lynch Singapore). Highlights:

<> The loss of hundreds of lives in Thailand due to the tsunami is a devastating tragedy, and is not something that can be calculated in terms of price. However there will be economic impacts from this event; we estimate losses in terms of future tourist revenue foregone along with fisheries and property damages to be about Bt35-40bn or 0.5-0.6% of our projected 2005 GDP.

<> The bulk of the loss is expected to come from Bt30bn in terms of foregone tourist revenue in the final days of December and much of 1Q 2005. This represents about 7% of total tourism revenue and would shave about 0.4% from our projected 2005 GDP. While Bangkok and other cities in the north were affected by aftershocks and earthquakes centered in Myanmar, there are no reports of damages.

<> About half of the south’s peak tourist season (Nov – Feb) could be ruined. Particularly hard-hit was the island of Phuket but other seaside resorts – Phang-Nga and Krabi – also suffered severe damage.

<> Phuket, Phang-Nga and Krabi earn an estimated Bt100bn from tourism per year. Phuket, the hardest hit, receives nearly 4 million visitors annually, 71% of them foreign. The island earns Bt73bn from tourism, two-thirds of which is earned during Oct – April. We believe that 1/3 of the island’s tourism revenue (Bt24bn) is likely to be lost in 2005.

<> Krabi earns Bt17.5bn from tourism. It receives 1.4mn visitors annually. Pang-Nga earns Bt6.4bn from 0.6mn visitors annually. We estimate that these resorts will lose 25% of their 2005 tourist revenue or about Bt6bn.

<> In total, we assume private property and infrastructure losses to be about Bt3-4bn. The tsunami happened quickly and it does not appear to have caused major structural damage. Indeed, local tourism operators were quoted as saying that the cleanup would take only 1-2 months.

<> Nearly 100 large fishing vehicles are deemed to have also been lost, along with a hundred or so smaller craft. Thailand’s south accounts for 60% of the country’s GDP from fisheries. While over one hundred of fishing boats could be lost, the output loss should be temporary but difficult to quantify. We assume total losses (boats and output foregone) to be in about Bt4-5bn.

<> The government is likely to provide financial assistance for rebuilding in the coming months. The increased construction activity will therefore offset some of the above losses, but part of this could be diverted from spending in other sectors.




Bangkok, Thailand, December 28, 2004 — With major clean-up operations under way in South Thailand beach resorts affected by the December 26 tsunami, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is anticipating that places which have not suffered serious structural damage may be ready to receive visitors again within one month. Earth-movers, cranes and bulldozers have been deployed to clear up the debris in many of the areas.

TAT staff are on high alert and working actively in cooperation with airlines, government officials and the private sector to ensure relief and safe return of international visitors to their home country. At a press conference today, TAT Governor Mrs Juthamas Siriwan also announced that TAT is cancelling all its planned New Year celebrations, including the annual ‘Countdown’ extravaganza in Bangkok and other provinces.

Mrs Juthamas said, “Given the extent of the tragedy and the loss of life region-wide, it would be highly inappropriate to go ahead with celebrations. We think people will well understand.” She said the private sector would remain free to do as it wishes.

TAT has dispatched a survey team to the affected sites to assess the situation. Mrs Juthamas herself toured the area by helicopter to get an overview of the affected areas. She said, “Although the tsunami caused serious damage in many areas, a lot of other places are only covered with debris. These areas have seen little or no damage and only need to be cleaned up to be open to visitors again.”

Partnering with local airlines — THAI Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Air Asia, Orient Air, Phuket Air and Nok Air – TAT has helped transfer thousands of visitors back to Bangkok and put them up in arranged accommodation. In coordination with the Thai Hotels Association (THA) and Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA), more rooms are being arranged to receive the many thousands more expected to arrive. Chain hotels are also helping to transfer guests to their properties in Bangkok.

The Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) has set up centres in Patong Beach in Phuket, Takua Pa and Kok Loi in Phang Nga, Krabim in Trang and Satun to provide free international calls to visitors wishing to call family and friends back home. CAT staff are also distributing free international call cards in other areas.

Most of the damage has been restricted to the specific parts of six provinces: Phuket, Krabi, Phang-nga, Trang, Satun and Ranong. In these places, too, not all areas have been affected. In Trang, many places are still safe with around 600 rooms available in a number of hotels.

Other parts of the country have not been affected. The beach resort of Pattaya is full as it is every year during this holiday season. Mrs Juthamas said charters from Russia and Scandinavia that usually fly into Phuket at this time of the year have not yet been cancelled and TAT is working with them to divert their clients to other destinations like Hua Hin and Cha-am.

She said other beach resorts on the Gulf of Thailand like Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat are other options, especially for visitors from neighbouring source markets like Hong Kong and Singapore. The Chinese market has not been affected as they mostly travel to Pattaya.

TAT is encouraged by the many calls of sympathy it is getting from all over the world, with many callers asking when recovery efforts will be completed so that they can visit South Thailand. Mrs Juthamas said TAT has begun looking at ways to upgrade the safety of swimmers and divers, especially with the view to facilitate identification in case of any unforeseen future accidents.

Appealing to all hotel owners to retain their staff during these crisis times, Mrs Juthamas said she expected TAT would be able to launch crisis recovery and marketing campaigns around March 2005, most likely at the world’s biggest travel trade show, Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) in Berlin. She added, “We express our sincere thanks to all government officials, the private sector, embassies and airlines for their help with the smooth transfer of passengers from the affected areas into Bangkok.”



Thai Airways International Public Company Limited arranged special flights to transport the injured and passengers affected by the tidal waves in Krabi and Phuket. Mr. Kanok Abhiradee, THAI’s President, said that THAI has arranged the following special flights, to transport the injured and passengers affected from the situation in Southern Thailand, mainly in Krabi and Phuket:


– On 28 December 2004, the airline arranged a special flight TG8790 to transport the injured and passengers affected by the tidal waves in Southern Thailand, transporting them from Krabi departing at 1700 hours and arriving in Bangkok at 1820 hours, utilizing Boeing 737-400 with 149 seats.

– Currently, THAI operates 4 flights per day on the route Bangkok-Krabi. The increase in flights allowed the return flight on the route Krabi-Bangkok, resulting in 5 flights per day.

– THAI established a Help Desk Center at Krabi Airport at Tel. 075-691-940


– On 28 December 2004, the airline arranged special flights to transport the injured and passengers affected by the tidal waves in Southern Thailand at 5 flights from Phuket, those being:

– Flight TG8705 departing Phuket at 0110 hours and arriving in Bangkok at 0230 hours, utilizing Boeing 747-400 aircraft with 389 seats.

– Flight TG8708 departing Phuket at 1420 hours and arriving in Bangkok at 1540 hours, utilizing Boeing 747-300 aircraft with 405 seats.

– Flight TG8791 departing Phuket at 1730 hours and arriving in Bangkok at 1850 hours, utilizing Airbus A300-600 aircraft with 247 seats.

– Flight TG8792 departing Phuket at 2040 hours and arriving in Bangkok at 2200 hours, utilizing Boeing 747-300 aircraft with 405 seats.

– Flight TG8793 departing Phuket at 2340 hours and arriving in Bangkok at 0100 hours, utilizing Airbus A300-600 aircraft with 247 seats.

– Currently, THAI operates flights on the route Bangkok-Phuket at 10 flights per day and on the route Phuket-Bangkok at 17 flights per day.

– On 27 December 2004, Thai Airways International, AirAsia, Phuket Air, Orient Air, and Royal Thai Air Force aircraft (C-130) cooperated in transporting the injured and passengers affected by the tidal waves from Phuket to Bangkok, at a total of 6,901 people at 26 flights.

– Passengers and the injured who seek travel to Bangkok or seek to transport the deceased back to Bangkok may contact:

THAI’s Office at Phuket International Airport at Tel. (076) 205-335, (076) 327-194. THAI’s Town Office in Phuket at Tel. (076) 212-400, (076) 211-195.

THAI has established a Help Desk Center at the Domestic Terminal of Bangkok International Airport at Tel. (02) 535-7670 to 3.

1. Retention Programs: To protect longhaul flights and regional flight bookings in connection with Phuket, Phanga, Krabi, Trang packages. THAI will allow alternate destinations, such as:

<> Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hua Hin, Cha-am, Kanchanaburi.

<> Bali, Vietnam, Luang Prabang, Yangon, Hong Kong, Singapore.

<> Without additional charges, by using the portion Bangkok-Phuket v.v., Bangkok-Trang v.v., Bangkok-Krabi v.v.

<> Offer valid until the end of January 2005 (with possible extension).

2. Sent out positive assessment of non-affected area of Phuket, Krabi, and hotels that are not damaged.

3. Lifted all restrictions on ticket conditions for those affected by tidal wave disaster.

4. Coordinate with all airlines (members of BAR or Board of Airline Representatives) operating in and out of Thailand to fully integrate cooperation and resources to assist all concerned passengers.

5. Transport doctors who are both Thai and expatriates, including humanitarian goods, to disaster areas.

6. Continue to make contingency plans for quick recovery of passenger traffic from all over the THAI network.



From Mr Suparerk Soorangura, ATTA President

ATTA received some information regarding status of hotel in the Southern parts of Thailand from Web Sawasee Public Company Limited. Please check information from this website: http://www.sawadee.com/tsunami/hotels.htm



Message from Ms. Nuntamon Chuesakdahong, Sales and Marketing Manager: Our hotel Staff and Guests, they are all safe. We did not get hit by the Tsunami as we are far way from the beach, around one kilometre, and our location is on the side of a mountain. We would like you to inform the relatives of our hotel guests that the guests who are staying with us are safe.



We are pleased to advise that due to the location of Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort, we sustained only minor damage to the beachfront and swimming pool. Both of these areas had being cleaned and restored to full use and is currently fully operational. The rest of the hotel was not affected in any way and all services and facilities are fully operational as normal.

The Krabi airport is operating as normal and is totally unaffected by the crisis with all scheduled flights operating. There is certainly no reason to cancel any immediate or future plans or bookings for Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort and we can definitely assist with any further reservation requirements you may have.



Here in Jakarta we are just realizing the extent of damage that has occurred in Aceh, Indonesia’s northernmost province on the island of Sumatra. This is because until Monday phone lines to the province’s capital, Banda Aceh, and others have been down, except to the town of Lhokseumawe, which has been damaged, but not as bad. When finally shown on TV on Monday, Banda Aceh was shown to have been almost completely destroyed. Besides suffering from the quake, and more tremors above 5.0 on the Richter scale, a tsunami, described as about 10 m. high fell on the area. Banda Aceh’s main mosque, which lies some 5 km. inland, was washed with 2 m. high water, eyewitnessesreported.

Hundreds of corpses are still lying on the sides of the roads until today, as there is no equipment to bury them. People have been picking up corpses with their bare hands. But also they are running out of strength. A large number of children have died in this disaster. The local government can not go to work as many offices are damaged. Those helping out are the Police and military personnel. There is hardly any food available, as shops are closed. Electricity has been down for 2 days, today only some 30% of Banda Aceh can receive electricity. There is hardly any water supply. And while there is enough rice and noodles, these can not be cooked, as there is no gas, electricity or other forms of fire and cooking utensils. But assistance is being supplied from other parts of the country, but not soon enough for the refugees, as there is practically nothing left to eat or drink. Access is one of the big problems.

Meulaboh, a town closest to the epicentre of the quake is still unreachable as bridges are broken. The airport has been damaged. Reports say that maybe on 15% of its inhabitants have survived this disaster. Airdrops of food supply is the only means to help them, but whether these reach those in need, is anyone’s guess.

The worry now is that bodies must be buried soon or else there will come widespread disease. Therefore, believe it or not, most urgently required now are body bags and disinfectants, and for those still alive BISCUITS and BOTTLED WATER.

I know, Aceh has been closed to tourists because of the civil emergency situation there, and is, therefore, not of immediate concern to tourism, but I believe that its inhabitants have seen a deluge like no other. This disaster is horrible.



The Tsunami Tidal Waves have hit coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands in India. Relief and rescue operations have been launched engaging the help of the Defense Forces. The respective State Governments have also taken necessary measures for the safety of people in the effected areas. All other States in India are unaffected and tourist traffic is normal. The Government have set up Help Lines to assist people seeking information about the affected areas.

1. Control Room in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands: DC, Andamans : +91-3192-233089, IG, Andamans : +91-3192 – 230216

2. Govt. of India Control Room in New Delhi (South Block) Tel: +91-11- 23017457, +91-11-23017302

3. Govt. of Kerala Control Room: Tel: +91-471-2322547, 91-9447-123700

The State Government of Kerala has confirmed that Kerala remains largely unaffected by the killer wave that has lashed the entire Asia Pacific region.

No tourist or any tourist destination has been affected till now. No loss of life to domestic or international tourists have been reported till date. The Government has taken all precautionary measures for the safety of all tourists in the coastal areas of Kerala. Additional lifeguards have been deployed across all beach destinations of Kerala as a contingency measure. Experts from the meteorological department are confident in their assessment that there is little chance of any aftershock in the coastal areas of Kerala.



(Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 27, 2004) — Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, is making available cargo space on all of its flights to Asia over the next week for use by the Red Crescent Society to send urgent relief to the countries affected. Etihad will send 18 flights weekly to Colombo, Mumbai, Bangkok and New Delhi and will transfer of humanitarian aid including food and other supplies, as well as transferring Red Crescent staff directly to Colombo.

“Everyone at Etihad here in Abu Dhabi and across the world is deeply concerned about all those whose lives have been devastated by Sunday’s earthquake and tsunami disaster. We are looking at every possible way in which we can assist in the areas to which we fly across Asia and have been consulting with our local offices there on the best ways we can contribute,” said Etihad Chairman H.E. Dr. Ahmed Bin Saif Al Nahyan. “Etihad is also making available passenger space to aid agencies in Europe for this purpose.”


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