Bangkok – Thousands of Thais made Buddhist merit Saturday at Takuapah in Phang-Nga province for the estimated 8,000 people killed by the December 26, 2004 tsunami. Some 1,000 Buddhist monks accepted food and gifts in their begging bowls from thousands of Thais and scores of foreign tourists who had lined up along the main road of Takuapah village, one of the communities that was hardest hit by the natural disaster, for the merit-making ritual.
Takuapah became a centre for disaster relief efforts and the grisly process of trying to identify the thousands of dead left behind by the Boxing Day tsunami.
Nearby Ban Nam Khem, a fishing village on the Andaman coast, lost about 60 per cent of its population and had 80 per cent of its infrastructure destroyed, including 200 boats washed out to sea.
At Khao Lak, a popular beach resort among western tourists about 30 kilometres south of Takupah, thousands died, casting a pale over post-Christmas cheer in the western world as news and televised images of the natural disaster flooded in.