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Twelve years after Asia tsunami, 400 bodies unidentified in Thailand
December 26, 2016 / 5:17 AM / 9 months ago

Twelve years after Asia tsunami, 400 bodies unidentified in Thailand

A rose is seen on the beach after being released by Thai children near a wave-shaped tsunami monument for victims of the 2004 tsunami in Ban Nam Khem, a southern fishing village destroyed by the wave December 26, 2014. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK (Reuters) - At least 400 victims of Asia’s 2004 tsunami that killed 226,000 people remain unidentified in Thailand 12 years on, police said on Monday.

The 9.15 magnitude Dec. 26 earthquake triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean in one of the biggest natural disasters in history.

Thailand, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka were among the worst hit countries. Some 5,395 people were killed in Thailand, among them about 2,000 foreign tourists.

“Since the 2004 tsunami, authorities have contacted between 4,000 to 5,000 relatives to come and receive bodies. There are about 400 bodies that we cannot identify,” Anand Boonkerkaew, deputy superintendent of Takua Pa district police in Phang Nga province, told Reuters.

Thailand’s tourist high season is in full swing and in much of the area affected by the tsunami, it is business as usual. New hotels have replaced those flattened by the wall of water.

Thailand expects a record 32.4 million foreign tourists this year.

Critics have said Thailand’s tsunami warning system remains inadequate, partly because it isn’t maintained properly. The government has said it is in good order.

Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Nick Macfie

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