Tsunami relief and my friends in Thailand

I am in Memphis at the moment, en route to New Orleans, so this will have to be quick. Since I am on the road at the moment, I am only getting news of the Asian tsunami in bits and pieces, but naturally I am worried about the human toll of the disaster — particularly in Thailand, where I have many Thai friends and traveling acquaintances. So, very quickly:

1) If you haven’t already, please donate to the relief efforts, even if it is just a few dollars. Google has set up a donation link page here.

2) If anyone has news of or knows of the situation in Ranong, Thailand (my former expat home), please let me know. I have yet to hear from my friends in the area.

3) If you know of online reports from travelers in Thailand — especially the Phuket or Koh Phi Phi area — please post links or anecdotal information here (or email me), as I am worried about the fate of a stretch of the Andaman Sea (and the people who visit there) that feels like a second home to me.

Posted by | Comments (14)  | December 29, 2004
Category: Rolf's News and Updates

14 Responses to “Tsunami relief and my friends in Thailand”

  1. Mark Says:

    BBC online has set up an in depth coverage of the quake disaster (including eyewitness accounts) at

    You may also want to check out the Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Thailand posts.

    As for the Ranong, there are some articles available via Google News

    I hope your friends are OK.

  2. Carl Parkes Says:

    I’ve read that the death toll for Ranong and vicinity is now about 200 and rising. You probably already know this, but the best current information on the devastation in Thailand can be found at the website/blog of Ron Morris at:


    Ron has a special link at the top with almost hourly reports from the Thai media, including translations from Thai language media into English, and screen caps from Thai TV. The link is here:


  3. Jen Leo Says:

    Rolf, I hope your friends are alive and well.

    Here are some news links:
    Tsunami and Thailand (Phuket and Koh Phi Phi)





    The Lonely Planet Thorn Tree and CNN have missing persons links going. Here’s the LP. There’s so much on CNN I couldn’t find the one I found yesterday:


  4. caroline Says:

    hope your friends are ok, rolf.

    you should check out this page on cnn


  5. jenny Says:

    i’ve heard from 2 people that can assure me they are going to be okay and i am still waiting to hear from 3 others. the sites previously posted have been helpful, they are probably the best, but there are also some links available through the following site that contain some specific contacts-


    (actually most hotel and resort sites there are updating every half hour with links to local news)

    if i recieve any new info i’ll be sure to pass it on- i know how you feel, i hope all is well with your friends..


  6. Jordan Says:

    Also, Lonely Planet has set up extensive listings on the Thorn Tree for both Missing Persons (http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com/categories.cfm?catid=68) and Information-Related links (http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com/messagepost.cfm?postaction=reply&catid=68&threadid=678681&messid=5758024)

    Hope everything is well with you friends Rolf


  7. Mary Says:

    This was an email received 12/27 from my friend:
    friends … we are very lucky to be alive here on Koh Phayam. Around us is
    devastation. Phi Phi is destroyed, Phuket mangled, bodies floating in the
    streets of Khao Lak not far south and even problems in Ranong. By fortune
    of geography and the fact that the beach is not narrow at the mouth allowed
    the wave to push in and escape … the original wall of water left Indonesia
    at 40 meters! we were at high tide and then the water just came up over the
    beach into the restaurant.

    the rumour is that the Indonesian military did not report the quake and that
    is why everybody here was caught by surprise. I was actually on my way out
    to the Navy vessel for a brunch when the call came over the radio that a
    tsunami was about to hit. the Navy inflatable was in the restaurant at one
    moment and then gone…

    crazy …

    will write more, but just trying to clean up and make sure everyone is okay.

    lotsa love.
    thank you all so much for your thoughts and for helping keep my protective
    angel nearby…

    love and more love,

  8. Mary Says:

    A 2nd update from Koh Phayam 12/29:
    Thank you all for your notes … the mood here on the island swings with
    each individual. Some carry the weight of the world on their shoulders and
    others – I count myself one – recognize that we are very lucky to be alive
    and must forge on.

    The news that comes through the media is outrageous for us. We escaped with
    a massive wave that was not cresting. It pushed water into places where
    nobody has ever seen it. Buffalo Bay – next to my beach – has a very narrow
    neck and is quite shallow. The result was three meters of water where
    motorcycles were parked! The damage there was more. Nonetheless, nobody on
    this island lost their life! Some had some wild stories of what they held
    on to, but everyone here is okay.

    Several people have asked about sending money. At this point I am not dialed in to any specific local efforts, but I will ask my friend and local advisor Pi Oi. Stay tuned for info on that. Others have already mentioned donations to the International Red Cross and I am confident that money will be well used.

    I will keep you posted with more info over the next days. I love you all.

  9. Marlene Says:

    Thanks Mary for news from Koh Phayam, I was so worried about our friends there (we stayed on the island for 8 weeks in 2002). Could you please keep posting here (or send me news personally) whenever you get other info?

    Thanks again


  10. jenny Says:

    i hope you have heard from friends by now but as a last resort you can also check http://www.phuketitcity.com for a list of injured/deceased. i’ve had to check it several times..

  11. Evelyn Rodriguez Says:

    Hi Rolf, I was in Koh Phi Phi when the tsunami struck (first-hand account, etc. on my blog, http://evelynrodriguez.typepad.com).

    If you were more specific about Andaman Sea, I could be possibly of more help; but this is certainly not an area to travel to in the next few months as it was the hardest hit.

    In Phuket, it was mostly Patong Beach that was hit hard and because many of the hotels there are high-rises (second floor and up was safe), the first floor was wiped out but otherwise standing; I imagine Patong Beach will quickly rebuild.

    Ko Phi Phi particularly near Ton Sai village and the pier were hit very hard; as Phi Phi is so hilly many people were able to quickly climb into the hills however but lots of property was destroyed. I hear the Hat Yao/Long Beach area was ok however. Koh Lanta and Koh Jum also hit hard. From anecdotal evidence (lots of time to have cathartic conversations with many others in Phuket, etc.) it seems Khao Lak and surrounding area were the hardest hit of all. I have very little information about Krabi province and its beaches as I was sent to Phuket Hospital and didn’t speak to anyone from that area before I returned home.

  12. Kristin VT (Big Sis) Says:

    Another good organization to add to the donations list is Mennonite Central Committee, which has a long history of responding to disasters quickly and effectively. Donations for the tsunami relief effort can be sent to: MCC Central States, P.O. Box 235, North Newton, KS 67117. Credit card donations can be made by calling 316-283-2720 or 1-888-563-4676 or by logging onto the MCC Website: http://www.mcc.org/asiaearthquake

  13. Tina & Free Says:

    We have been trying to find out news about the island Koh Payam as with other’s we have friends on the island and were worried about them. We stayed there for a few months leaving 2001 and beginning 2002 It is good to hear that although affected there were not any casualties. If anyone we know is reading this a big hello and phew from Tina & Freeman

  14. Thai Tsunami Fund Says:

    We are thai in Phuket. The situation is improving in terms of reconstruction, cleaning and getting organized. The most desperate item on the list is Direct Relief to the victims. A lot of donations have been pledged for basic needs but it’s only trickling down to those who need it. People just want to get back to work so they can survive the aftermath.

    Fishermen have no boats, no fish nets, and most have no roof over their heads. Whole villages have been wiped out in Khaolak, north of Phuket. Temp homes are being constructed. Thousands are still missing; bodies unclaimed.

    We have launched ThaiTsunamiFund.com to channel direct relief to the victims in the hope of saving them from further mental anguish and hopelessness. We are in the process of doing “case summaries” of urgent desperate calls for help. We urge all reading this to visit the site and bookmark it until we get the case summaries up this week – please spread the word so help can reach the victims as soon as is humanely possible.

    We have contributed the site and sponsors have helped defray costs. Donors will only be contacted in direct relation to a case in need.

    Thank you for sharing. There are useful links on the site to missing person databases, etc. Rolf, i hope your friends are alright. Ranong is not as badly hit as Khaolak. Phuket is recovering. There are some pics on the site.

    Staff and Management