Nearly two years after the Indian Ocean tsunami, Thailand today begins the burial, in an inter-religious ceremony, of the last 110 unidentified victims of Caucasian appearance. Their DNA has been sampled, so they will now lie in airtight coffins until family members come to claim them. The aluminium coffins are going into concrete-lined chambers, each big enough for 11 victims of one of the world’s worst ever natural disasters.
In all, over 230 000 people died or went missing from 12 different countries in the region, and from further afield, with Indonesia the worst-hit. Over 5000 died in Thailand, half of them foreigners on holiday. Some identified victims also remain in storage, simply because their families are too poor to repatriate them.