As the tsunami tragedy continues to flood various TV channels, radio stations and newspapers here in Thailand, everyone sits glued to the TV, watching in horror as the death toll continues to rise ever so steadily. Most Thais came home earlier this evening to learn that 800 bodies have just been found buried under the rubble at Sofitel Hotel in Phuket, sending Thailand’s death toll to 1,516. In a statement made earlier today, Thailand’s prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, said that once this is all over, Thailand’s overall death toll could easily go over 2,000, or even higher.
But besides the mass horror stories, it’s the individual accounts that pull at the heart the most. Throughout the day, Thai journalists have been interviewing loads of people, ranging from fishermen, Swedish tourists, construction workers, and Thai vacationers hailing from Bangkok. With tears in their eyes, all of them held up photographs of their loved ones, pleading in earnest that should anyone spot them, to please notify them immediately. No one wants to think that those currently missing might in fact be dead. No one wants to give up hope, especially when there has already been an odd miracle story here and there. Everyone wants to think that their missing father, son, daughter or mother might still be alive; that there might still be the chance of a possible reunion.