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29 Dec, 2004

Tsunami Update 6: Contact Details Set Up to Trace Missing Persons

More announcements, appeals and updates from around the region. Plus website links, contact numbers set up to facilitate information on missing persons.

This dispatch contains important website links and contact numbers for India and Thailand, especially for those seeking to trace missing persons. Also includes the latest announcements, appeals and updates from Malaysia ATF 2005, Guam, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Small Luxury Hotels Of The World, Korean Air, and some unaffected individual hotels. Please note that Bali and all its properties remain totally unaffected.



FROM TIM ROBINSON, CHAIRMAN, PATA UK CHAPTER: Thank you for these excellent updates. The detailed information is invaluable as we have mainly general info from the news and people do need specific details on hotels & destinations. I am arranging for them to be forwarded to our Chapter members, with the suggestion that they subscribe if they want to see more.



PHUKET: The Phuket Gazette Online has received a large volume of requests for assistance with regard to missing persons. In order to “widen the net” and increase the likelihood of readers getting into contact with someone who might know the whereabouts of a missing person, the Gazette Online has set up a special English-language facility.

Readers concerned about the fate of someone known to have been in southern Thailand on the day of the catastrophe are welcome to post a message, and, if possible, a photograph of the person who may have been endangered. They can do this at http://www.phuketgazette.net/classifieds/placead.asp?categoryid=54

All missing-persons messages will be published widely and without charge. They will be indexed to the Gazette Online home page and be copied by email to as many local area (Phuket, Phang-nga and Krabi) hospitals as possible.

Meanwhile, a list of emergency embassy and consular representatives currently in Phuket, along with their phone numbers, can be found at http://www.phuketgazette.net/news/index.asp?id=3877

Other important websites for a wealth of information and contact points on the situation in Thailand.

http://www.phuketitcity.com/ (for missing persons)

http://www.mfa.go.th/tsunami/index_en.php (for general developments in Thailand)

http://www.sawadee.com/tsunami/hotels.htm (for status of hotels in South Thailand)

www.PATA.org (for regional updates and developments)



Tsunamis affected the Eastern Coast of Southern India in the States of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. India Tourism offers its condolence to everyone who has lost family, friends and property in this tidal wave disaster.

Rescue and relief operations have been launched by Central and State Governments on a war footing. The respective State Governments have already taken necessary measures to provide food, blankets, medicines by engaging defence forces and aircraft and ships for the people in the affected areas. Other geographical regions of these Southern Coastal Areas are unaffected and tourist traffic is normal. Other States in India remain totally unaffected.

Help lines to assist the people seeking information about affected areas and tourists are given below:-

Control Room New Delhi: 91-11-23092923, 23093054

Emergency Control Room, New Delhi: 91-11-23017457, 23017302

Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs: 91-11-23011849 23383348

Andaman and Nicobar Administration: 03192-233110/234087 (Secretariat), 03192-231945/233089 (Deputy Commissioner)

Government of Tamil Nadu: Shri K. Marimuthu Deputy Director of Tourism Office of Commissioner of Tourism Walajah Road Chennai-2 Tel: 91-44-25388785/253616490/25366633 (Off) 91-44-23783211 (Res), 9444365916 (Mobile).

Government of Kerala: Tel : 91-471-2322547 (Trivandrum), 91-447-123700


Office of Chief Secretary Mr. C.S. Khairwal: Tel : 91-413 – 2334145, 2335512 Collector cum Secretary (Revenue) Shri Kandavelu in charge of relief Tel : 91-413 – 2226147, 2248759

Ministry of Tourism’s Control Room – New Delhi.

Control Room has also been established in the office of Regional Director, India Tourism, 88-Janpath, New Delhi-110001. The contact person and telephone numbers are:- Mr. K.L. Das Regional Director India Tourism 88, Janpath New Delhi. Tel: 91-11-23320005/23320008 (off). 91-11-23320342 (off), 91-11-23320109 (fax), 91-11-26266126 (Res). e-mail : goitodelhi@tourism.nic.in

Foreigners seeking casualty information about family members should deal directly with their Embassies/Consulates in India or contact the Regional Director, India Tourism, 88-Janpath, New Delhi at the address given above.

The Coastal Region Of Kerala

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. Till now no loss of life to domestic or international tourists have been reported. 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 measures. Experts from the Metrological Department are confident in their assessment that there is little chance of any aftershock in the coastal areas of Kerala.

To reassure prospective visitors to Kerala, the Department of Tourism has uplinked an appeal on www.keralatourism.org. An email campaign to all prominent tour operators (national and international), India Tourism offices abroad and prominent media is already underway.

The State Government is also operating a 24-hour response cell to provide information. Please contact : 91-471-2322547 and 91-9447-123700

Andhra Pradesh

There are no reported damages to Tourism locations in the coastal Andhra Pradesh like Visakhapatnam. All the airports, rail and road communications are unaffected.

Tamil Nadu

The following major tourist destinations are situated in the Coastal area of Tamil Nadu: Chennai, Mamallapuram, Tranquebar, Rameswaram, Trichendur and Kanniyakumari. Of these destinations, Chennai, Mamallapuram and KanniyakumarI have been affected. The damages in each place are summarized below:

Chennai: The entire stretch of Marina Beach in which various cement pavements and other decorative structures erected along the beach side have been damaged. However, the tourist place in Chennai like Fort St. George, Kapaleeswar Temple, Govt. Museum were not affected.

Mamallapuram: No damages to 5 Rathas. Arjuna’s Penance and Shore Temple. Most of the Beach side cottages in various hotels damaged. Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation suffered extensive damages in all its cottages on the beach side in Mamallapuram. The foreign tourists who were in various hotels and resorts were rescued. So far there is no report of casuality of foreign tourist. However, it is reported that one local tourist who had stayed in a private hotel has died. Besides three local tourists are reported missing. The TTDC Boat House at Muttukadu on the way to Mamallapuram from Chennai has been totally damaged. Several boats were missing.

Kanniyakumari: The major tourist spot at Kanniyakumari are intact. The tourists who were stranded at Vivekananda Rock memorial and Thiruvalluvar Statue were rescued by Naval Boats and local fishermen. However, several tourists who had gone to Bathing Ghat were reported missing. The TTDC toilet blocks and other structures erected around Thiruvalluvar Statue have been damaged. Structures around view tower damaged. No damages have been reported at Tranquebar, Rameswaram and Triuchendur.

Poompuhar: In respect of Poompuhar – the State Government is maintaining a tourist complex. This complex comprises of Art Gallery and other monuments. The Shell and Conch type Cottages in the Complex have suffered damages. The Art Gallery and other monuments are intact.

Pitchavaram: Pitchavaram is famous for its Mangrove Forests. Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation is providing pleasure boat facilities. Many of the boats are missing. Boat Jetty partly damages.

Velankann: There is no damage to Velankanni Church. However, extensive loss of life of pilgrims is reported.

At present life is normal in the major tourist destinations located in the non-coastal areas like Thanjavur, Madurai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli.

For further details, please contact India Tourism Offices in affected areas:

1. Shri M V Babu Assistant Director India Tourism Willingdon Island Kochi (Kerala)-682009 Tel: 91-484-2668352/2669125 Email : indtourismkochi@sify.com

2. Shri V. Elumalai Assistant Director India Tourism 154, Anna Salai Chennai-600002 Tel: 91-44-28461459/28460285 Email : indtour@vsnl.com

3. Shri S.P. Singh Director India Tourism KFC Building 48, Church Street Bangalore-560001. Tel: 91-80-25585417 Email : indtour@kar.nic.in

4. Shri T. W. Sudahkar Rao Assistant Director India Tourism 3-60-140, II Floor Netaji Bhawan Liberty Road Himayat Nagar Hyderabad-500 029 Tel: 91-40-23261360/23260770 Email : hyd2_indtour@sancharnet.in

India Tourism will be constantly reviewing, monitoring and bringing you updates on any further development.



Following the recent tidal wave (tsunami) disaster caused by the major earthquake at Sumatra, there has been some reported damage in Malaysia but the situation is fully under control.

A tsunami tidal wave set off by an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter Scale which struck 160km offshore from the Indonesian island of Sumatra caused some damage to coastal villages in Penang, Langkawi, Kedah and Perlis at about 1.40 pm on Sunday, 26 December 2004.

The Malaysian authorities monitoring the situation have taken the necessary measures as a precaution. The following were reported by the National Disaster Committee on 28 December 2004:

<> 60 people have died; 183 injured; and 29 missing.

<> Those who perished were either local picnickers or anglers who were on the beach or out at sea.

<> About 700 homes at coastal villages near Balik Pulau in Penang and Kuala Muda in Kedah were destroyed.

<> Despite some minor damage in Penang and Langkawi, two popular winter destinations, hotel operations there have returned to normal and all is calm. At the beachfronts of some hotels, debris clearance is expected to take a few days. All other hotels and resorts in the affected areas are operating as usual while tourist attractions are unaffected.

The Prime Minister has instructed the National Disaster Committee to initiate relief works, and the Treasury to make out the necessary compensation for victims who lost their homes in the tidal wave disaster. Deputy Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also the Chairman of the National Disaster Committee, has ordered National Disaster Operation Rooms to be opened 24 hours in all affected states in Peninsular Malaysia and for rescue and relief work to continue.

In Malaysia, the situation is back to normal and everything is fully under control. All gateways and airports are opened and it is business as usual. The country remains a safe destination for tourists.

According to Star Cruises, its two cruise liners, SuperStar Virgo and SuperStar Gemini which sailed from Singapore and Port Klang respectively on 26 December are amending their itineraries to call in on Langkawi on 28 December instead of Phuket until further notice.

The Malaysian Host Committee of ATF 2005 from 21 to 29 January 2005 in Langkawi wishes to reassure all registered delegates and participants that all is proceeding as scheduled and looks forward to welcoming everyone to a successful conference and TRAVEX.

For more updates, please log on to our website: www.tourism.gov.my or contact: Communications Division, Tourism Malaysia. Contact: Tel: (603) 2615 8188. E-mail: enquiries@tourism.gov.my



Another 200 foreign visitors were transported to Colombo on 27 December 2004 from Sri Lanka’s southern coastal areas. This brings the number of tourists evacuated from the Southern coast to more than 1,000 in the last 24 hours according to a spokesman for the Sri Lanka Tourist Board.

Visitors evacuated to Colombo are being housed in hotels, the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conventions Centre and the Colombo Hotel School. They are being assisted to secure seats on flights leaving Colombo to their home countries. Those who have lost their travel documents are being assisted by the Board and diplomatic offices here, to fly home.

Tourist Board Chairman, Mr. Nanayakkara said the situation with regard to foreign visitors is being closely monitored to minimize inconvenience and stress. He noted that the evacuation of foreign guests has gone smoothly despite difficult road conditions. The Board is also trying to secure helicopter services to speed up the evacuation process.


REPORT FROM THE MALDIVES (www.visitmaldives.com)

Most of the Maldivian tourist resorts have been fortunate to be spared the brunt of the Tsunami. The exclusive popular island resorts of the Maldives are open for business as usual, except for about 6 resorts that have registered considerable damage. Tourists who were on the affected resorts have been evacuated and they are now safe and secure. Many of them have now been flown to their home countries.

The Male’ International Airport is operational except for landings at night. Charter flights are resuming their regular schedules to the Maldives. The seaplane transfer service from the Airport to the resorts is expected to be on track in the next 2 to 3 days. Whilst, boat transfers schedules are back to normal.

The Ministry of Tourism of the Maldives has worked closely with the resorts, tour operators, travel agents and the airlines to keep the tourism industry running smoothly. Most Maldivian resorts are now back to normal and international flights are resuming operation to the popular holiday destination



(December 28, 2004 – Tumon, Guam) The earthquake and series of tsunamis causing cataclysmic impact to the countries bordering the Indian Ocean has not affected Guam.

Nor will tsunamis of such magnitude ever have the same impact on Guam as the low laying areas of Indonesia, India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Somalia. That’s because of the depth of the Marianas Trench and the coral reefs surrounding Guam help protect the island from tsunamis according to a published cover story in the Pacific Daily News on December 28, 2004.

According to the story, a U.S. Geological Survey published in 1964 stated that “although a destructive tsunami is possible at any one of Guam’s open bays, the possibility of a large tsunami causing considerable damage, however, appears remote inasmuch as most of the lowland on the island is protected by a band of coral reefs that acts as a filter or a baffle for long-period waves”, the paper states.

The PDN story also quotes Guam-based U.S. Geological Survey station geophysicist Paul Hattori. “The Marianas Trench would help deflect the wave energy if an earthquake happens east of the trench. It’ll tend to disperse it. What happens is when it hits the trench; all of the submarine canyons and mountains tend to redirect the tsunami wave. For more information about this story visit www.guampdn.com.

“Visitor safety is our primary concern when it comes to natural disasters,” says Guam Visitors Bureau general manager Tony Lamorena. “While we feel very sadden to hear about the destruction and loss of life the recent earthquake and tsunami caused, we want to reassure our visitors who are planning to come to Guam for rest and holiday that we are unaffected by the tsunamis and our reefs protect us from the destruction that they may cause”.



Small Luxury Hotels of the World joins our friends, colleagues and partners in sending our thoughts and prayers to those who have been affected or lost loved ones, friends or family.

We have a number of properties throughout the region, and have contacted each personally with thankfully the majority reporting comparatively little damage, with facilities and services operating normally. Those properties that have sustained a greater impact are:


The Lighthouse <http://www.slh.com/sri_lanka/dadella/hotel_dadlig.html> – Although hotel is fully functional, hotel is placed on a stop sell for bookings at the moment until further notice. Disruptions have occurred to electricity and telecommunication systems. Smaller roads leading to Galle remain slightly obstructed at this time.


Anantara Khao Lak – evacuated due to damage and will remain closed until further notice, with anticipated reopening in the second quarter of 2005.

Zeavola – opening will be delayed – date to be confirmed.


Soneva Gili Resort & Six Senses Spa <http://www.slh.com/maldives/male/hotel_malson.html> – evacuated due to temporary suspension of water and electricity (which was back on line by the following day). Soneva Gili is officially closed now, with anticipated reopening by 1st February 2005.

All other properties report business back to normal operations. Only a handful has minimal adjustments to facilities, and these will be updated on both the www.slh.com <http://www.slh.com/> Internet site and reservations systems as news comes to hand.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected by the Tsunamis, please rest assured your current and future travels remain the highest priority. Should you have any concerns or questions please don’t hesitate to email us at contact@slh.com or contact Reservations Centres




Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang & Golden Sands Resorts, Penang; JW Marriott Phuket.



SEOUL (December 29) – Responding to the immediate needs for disaster relief caused by the recent tsunami that hit Southeast Asia on December 26, 2004, Korean Air is taking the initiative to transport relief goods to Indonesia. Collected by the National Association for Disaster Relief and the Korean National Red Cross, the relief supplies include 2,000 emergency kits, 1,900 quilts and 6,300 blankets. Together these items are worth 72,438,300 Korean Won, and weigh over 26,700 kg. These emergency supplies will be airlifted to Jakarta, Indonesia on KE 373 leaving Incheon, Korea on December 31, 02:00 hrs.

Korean Air Chairman and CEO, Mr. Y. H. Cho, said: “The tsunami has created a devastating effect where emergency aid and assistance are urgently needed. We hope Korean Air can act swiftly to play a small role in helping to relieve some of the suffering.”

Previously, Korean Air has provided transportation assistance to deliver relief goods to disaster and earthquake areas such as Ryongcheon in North Korea, Niigata in Japan, Turkey and Taiwan.


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