One of the areas hit by devastating waves on Sunday was southern Thailand - a tourist paradise visited by thousands of vacationers including Czechs, who were in the region when the quake and the ensuing waves struck. Of the four hundred or so killed none were Czechs - but several Czech national were injured and others remain missing.
Jiri Sitler is the Czech Ambassador to Bangkok:
"There are about 200 Czech tourists in the affected provinces and we have information about 5 injured - 3 of them seriously - and many missing, including some worrying cases like divers or similar cases. Our main concern is now to locate all Czech citizens in the area: we have lists of those who came with tourist agencies, and we also have information about individual tourists there, and we are trying to find out, in cooperation with Thai authorities and try to collect as much information as possible."
Collecting information, not surprisingly, has been far from simple under the circumstances. But, the ambassador says the situation is improving in terms of infrastructure and telephone connections. An embassy official has also been working in the south of the country with Thai officials and tourist agencies to search for Czechs still unaccounted for.
Others, who have been evacuated from danger areas, will soon be able to leave for home.
"Some of the tourists - including several dozen Czechs - were already evacuated from the island of Phi Phi. Also, telecommunications are beginning to work again: it was a big problem we were unable to reach our tourists by mobile phone, but it's becoming easier now, but still there are of course many problems... The airport in Phuket has been opened so it is possible to leave the area, now. The situation is definitely better than yesterday, though of course, it is only 24 hours after the event."
Despite improvements, the crisis in Thailand, as other areas hit by the tidal waves, remains unresolved; the most difficult circumstances must now be for relatives who have still not heard from their loved ones. Those families can only now wait and hope those will be found in time - both alive and safe.
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