14 Czechs still missing after the earthquake disaster

10-01-2005

Two weeks after the earthquake disaster in Southeast Asia the search for people unaccounted for continues. So far there has been only one Czech tourist declared dead, but the authorities are seriously worried that eight other people have died, and a total of 14 Czechs are still missing.

Thailand, photo: CTKThailand, photo: CTK There is a strong suspicion that one Czech tourist died in Sri Lanka while another seven people were in the most affected parts of Thailand in the very moment of the disaster and had little chance of running away. The Czech authorities including the embassy in Thailand are now very busy searching for the missing.

Earlier today I called the Czech ambassador in Thailand Jiri Sitler to ask him how the work is progressing.

"Right now I am at a police station in Phuket. We are checking some photographs of the deceased as well as items that were left by the survivors. My colleagues in Bangkok are assessing the injuries of the last Czech tourist in the area to enable his transfer back home. They are also checking the hospitals in Bangkok in case there are some other Czechs injured, of whom we don't know. Later today I will take part in a meeting of EU embassies here. The main focus will be identification of the deceased."

Thailand, photo: CTKThailand, photo: CTK There were about 900 Czech tourists in Thailand when the earthquake came and 200 of them were in the area affected by the disaster. Thailand is seen by many Czechs as a dream holiday destination and is becoming increasingly popular as prices fall and incomes rise.

"It is definitely the most desired destination for Czech tourists and every year there are more and more Czech tourists coming. I think last year the number was about fifteen or sixteen thousand."

10-01-2005