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Saturday 1 January 2005

Thailand - Field Report

Source : Relief Web

Situation

The latest figures released by the Government as of 1200 hrs local time today are:

- 4,541 dead (Thai: 2,128, Foreigners: 2,230, Unidentified: 183)

- 10,469 injured (Thai: 5,042, Foreigners:1,510, Unidentified: 3,917)

- 6,479 missing (Thai: 4,582, Foreigners:1,663, Unidentified: 234)

Recovery and identification of human remains is still ongoing. The forensic capacity is improving with specialised teams from many countries in place working along with the Thai police. There seems to be a problem in distributing formalin and body bags to all the temples used as morgues.

Although many countries are air-lifting injured foreigners, the capacities of the hospitals in the affected area still extremely stretched due to the vast amount of people injured. There have been no reports of outbreaks of diseases.

The United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team has fielded two assessment missions to the disaster-affected areas. The team has been reinforced by the OCHA Regional Disaster Response Advisor for Asia.

Requirements

Needs and requirements as indicated by the Government are as follows: 1) Metal caskets/coffins (for international transportation), 2) Medical supplies (such as first aid kits, dressing sets, gauze and bandages), 3) Medicines (especially anti-diarrhea, anti-biotic and anti-septic), 4) Rubber gloves, masks, 5) Tents and office supplies, 6) Blankets, clothes, shoes, sandals, underwear, pants and sanitary napkins, 7) Heavy equipment (such as excavators and bulldozers), 8) Power generators, 9) Water purifiers, 10) Forensic pathologists, 11) Freezer containers for storing bodies, 12) Communications equipment, and 13) Dried or canned food and rice.

International Response

Representatives from 37 embassies are presently in Phuket to give assistance to the victims, focusing on recovery and identification on human remains. A daily coordination meeting on forensic work takes place at the police headquarter in Phuket. Airlift for forensic teams to the three main areas of work is now available. A joint information collection centre will be established at the Phuket town hall for gathering information from relatives.

Several needs assessments are currently being conducted. The immediate needs seem to be met in most places through emergency assistance from many European countries, countries in Asia and other parts of the world and UN agencies. However, there is an increasing need for preventive infectious disease control measures.
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