13 Norwegians reported dead

Foto: AP/Scanpix

According to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 13 Norwegians are reported dead so far in the disaster in South East Asia. Several hundred are missing.

28.12.04 10:15

The ministry informed that between 20 and 40 Norwegians are injured, in addition to the several hundred missing.

«There are both children and adults among the 13 deceased,» said Foreign Affairs Minister Jan Petersen at the press conference Monday. «In at least one case, several members of one family are reported dead, both children and adults.»

Most of the Norwegians were on vacation in Thailand and a small number in Sri Lanka.

«This may prove to be the biggest catastrophe ever to hit Norwegians abroad,» Petersen said.

Petersen was not able to state exactly how many people who are missing, but he stressed that there are several hundred.

«We have to face the fact that many of the people we now are trying to contact may be in the areas hit by the disaster and they may be injured or killed,» Petesen said.

Personnel from the Norwegian embassy in Bangkok have been sent to Phuket and Krabi in order to get an overview of the situation and aid Norwegians in the area.

Called in more personnel
The ministry has called in more personnel to the embassies in the area, and they are working around the clock to get in touch with the missing persons. Personnel are sent to Phuket and Krabi in Thailand, and to Sri Lanka, in order to establish how many Norwegians who have been hit by this disaster.

Petersen confirmed that there were Norwegians at the Andaman and Nikobar islands, which after the tidal wave have been impossible to get in contact with. More than 30,000 people are missing from these islands.

At one of the hardest hit areas, Khao Lak on the north side of Phuket, it has been impossible to get in contact with vacationers. Petersen stated that embassy personnel are on its way to the area now.

Norwegian aid
The minister informed that Norwegian authorities have decided to increase the aid to the disaster areas with NOK 40 million (USD 6.6 million) to NOK 50 million (USD 8.24 million).

At the press conference, it was informed that Norway’s International Crime Unit has offered to assist in the clean-up operation in Thailand, and the police unit will assist the Thai authorities. The exact number of officers who will be sent is still not announced.

Empty planes
Petersen confirmed that tour operators were now collaborating to get Norwegians home from the disaster area.

«We are talking with two or three jumbo jets daily with the capacity to handle 4-5000 persons, which will be sent down there Tuesday or Wednesday.»

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