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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 December 2005, 15:38 GMT
Thailand begins tsunami memorials
A huge batik telling the story of the tsunami unveiled in Bangkok, Thailand
Former Khao Lak workers created a batik recounting the tsunami
The first ceremonies remembering the victims of last year's tsunami have started in Thailand.

More than 1,000 people, including tourists, gathered near Khao Lak, on one of the beaches worst hit along the west coast.

Buddhist monks prayed for the souls of the dead and a colourful bird-shaped boat with flowers, candles and incense was launched into the sea.

Earlier, remembrance services for the UK victims were held in Phuket.

Many more commemorations are planned throughout the Indian Ocean region.

'Showcasing kindness'

The ceremonial boat was prepared by Moken sea gypsies, nomadic fishermen whose ancient beliefs warn them to flee to higher ground if they ever see the ocean recede.

To this day I remember the kindness of the Thai people as they gave us food, water and clothing
Dave Frey, Toronto

More than 5,000 of the estimated 200,000 people killed in the 26 December catastrophe died in Thailand, among them 2,000 tourists. Most of the Thai casualties were in Khao Lak.

About 10,000 people are expected to attend commemorations in six southern provinces in Thailand on Monday, on the anniversary of the tsunami.

"We have to commemorate the people who died and were injured," said Suwat Liptapanlop, chairman of the tsunami commemoration committee.

"We would like to showcase the kindness and generosity of the Thai people."

He said the Thai government was providing funds for 2,000 survivors and relatives of victims to attend the events.



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