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     Thai Prime Minister presided over the 10th anniversary Indian Ocean tsunami remembrance ceremony at the Police Boat 813 Tsunami Memorial in Phang Nga province

     On 26 December 2014, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, presided over the remembrance ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami held at the Police Boat 813 Memorial Site in Phang Nga province.

     The Prime Minister stated that the purpose of the ceremony is to pay respect to lives lost, the injured and the missing as a result of the event that affected countries along the Indian Ocean Rim. In addition, the event is held to pay tribute and to express thanks to all agencies and individuals, both in Thailand and internationally, who provided assistance and to build confidence in Thailand’s early warning system and readiness in disaster prevention in the future.

     The Prime Minister also pointed out that our world is faced with more severe and disasters. The people need to learn how to conduct themselves in unexpected situations so as to lessen losses caused by disaster. The tsunami disaster that struck 10 years ago resulted in tremendous loss of lives and bereavement of loved ones and the destruction of communities and houses. At such hard time, we also witnessed an outpouring of support from all corners of the globe both in assisting disaster victims and community rehabilitation. Many volunteers and charitable organizations travelled from all corners of Thailand and around the globe to assist disaster victims. Financial donations and other necessities were provided to help fellow human beings get through the crisis.

     The Prime Minister expressed admiration and appreciation to those especially our friends from all over the world who have shared their goodwill and kindness and in rehabilitating communities affected by the tsunami victims back to normal. The Prime Minister also took this opportunity to pay respect to Thai foreign nations who lost their lives from the tsunami.

     The losses also serve as a reminder for all to learn how to cope with natural disasters and to take precautionary measures in reducing loss of lives and valuables. Developing effective and modern early warning system and disaster prevention and mitigation so that they can link with regional efforts will help instill confidence in safety amongst communities and tourists. The Prime Minister also expressed his personal support to those affected by the disaster and families of the victims.

     The remembrance ceremony resulted from multi-agency efforts comprising memorial the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Thai Red Cross Society. The event gained much public interest both Thais and foreigners with more than 1,300 in attendance. Participants included Thais and foreigners, high ranking civil servants, members of the diplomatic corps, high level representatives from countries affected by the 2004 tsunami and those who had survived the tsunami including Mrs. Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator and Ms. Petra Nemcova, Founder and president of Happy Hearts Fund.

     On the sidelines of the ceremony, the agencies concerned such as Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, The Thai Red Cross Society, National Institute for Emergency Medicine held an exhibition to create awareness on disaster prevention and mitigation as well as demonstration on disaster preparedness, rescue and recovery, and management.

     On this occasion, a newly composed song “Hold me close” written by Mr. Jakkrit Srivali, Ambassador attached to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was performed by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra during the ceremony. The title of the song was inspired by the sculpture of the same name by Mrs. Louise Bourgeois, a renowned French sculptor, which was used as a symbol of the remembrance ceremony.

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