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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 December, 2004, 19:27 GMT
Disastrous scenes in Phuket
Kylie Morris
By Kylie Morris
BBC News Phuket, Thailand

Destroyed building
A man walks past a building destroyed by tidal waves in Phuket

I am in the grounds of one of the local hospitals here, the international hospital in Phuket.

Fairly terrifying scenes inside - a sense of catastrophe, a sense of weariness.

People are walking around - many of the injuries seem to have been minor, thankfully.

A lot of people suffered abrasions, when they were swept out of their hotel rooms into these boiling waters.

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But even so, a sense of wanting to get out of Phuket as soon as possible.

As we came into the airport there were hundreds of tourists waiting there. Tourists from all over the world.

Of course, Phuket is one of the most popular resorts in Thailand.

It was heavily booked for this season - and now these people's holidays have turned into a disaster.

They want to get out on the first flight back to Bangkok and leave Thailand.

Terrifying tales

There are some terrifying tales.

I just met a couple out at the airport who were leaving without their passport, without any of their belongings.

I spoke to another man who had tried to resuscitate a young Thai boy for 50 minutes and had ultimately failed
They had been swept from their hotel room after being given five minutes warning to get out. They couldn't get out in time.

The husband tried to hold onto his wife as long as he possibly could.

She was swept away.

He caught up with her again but suffered burn marks on his hands where he grabbed onto electrical wires to try to brace himself against the waters. Just horrific tales.

I spoke to another man who had tried to resuscitate a young Thai boy for 50 minutes and ultimately failed.

Full of emotion

People as they are talking to you begin to cry.

They are full of emotion and full of anguish at what happened.

The government is saying we are looking at least 150 dead in Phuket and perhaps as many as 2,000 people injured - though many of those may have sustained only minor injuries.

At the hospital I am standing at the front of at the moment there are more than 60 British tourists who are being treated inside.

There is a sense of real concern on the government's part

All the hospitals in Phuket are absolutely packed.

Of course we have outlying areas - resorts like Phi Phi which are popular places for backpackers and for divers.

Those people have not reported in - we don't know where they are.

So there is a sense of real concern on the government 's part that they have to get out and look for the missing because until those people are found there is no guaranteeing their safety.

Fully booked

Some of the British tourists who I spoke to earlier were trying to find a bed for the night.

We went to one of the hotels and there are just no rooms left in the centre of the city.

No-one wants to stay on the coast for obvious reasons this evening so everyone is trying to head into the town centre.

There are only a few hotels there and they are fully booked.

People are relying on their tour operators to try to find accommodation - but it simply is not to be found.

Foreign tourists
Many tourists were left stranded in the wake of the disaster
I spoke to the British Ambassador's staff earlier in the evening.

They are driving down from Bangkok because Phuket airport is closed.

They will have a massive task ahead of them in the morning when they are going to have to try to sort out what happens now to these tourists - many of whom want to leave.




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