02/16/2005, 00.00
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Tsunami survivors sue Thai government

The first lawsuit was filed for failure to warn people of the pending disaster. If experts and authorities had issued a warning in time, many of the 287,000 dead might not have died.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A group of Austrian and German survivors of the Asian tsunami disaster will file a lawsuit demanding that Thailand, a French hotel chain and US forecasters prove they reacted adequately to the disaster.

The suit, naming the French hotel chain Accor, Thai authorities and the US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration—which operates the tsunami early warning system in the Pacific—will be filed in a New York district court this week

Based in Hawaii and responsible for the Pacific Rim, the US agency is being cited for failing to warn the countries around the Indian Ocean after it registered the earthquake.

The lawyers representing the complainants said that if the forecaster and Thai authorities, which had their own information, had passed on their alerts in time, people could have moved inland and be saved. Instead, almost 288,000* people lost their lives.

With bodies buried and rubble cleared, hope as ever springs eternal. Two families, one in Indonesia and the other Sri Lanka, found lost children.

Iwan Nafis, 10, was returned to his family in Banda Aceh. Deeply traumatised, the boy was unable to describe his parents or his address, but on Sunday social workers took him for a drive and ended up in his neighbourhood.

"Stop! Stop! This is the street that leads to my house," Iwan yelled. They then met a neighbour who told them where his parents were.

In Sri Lanka a four-month old baby who survived the ordeal also found his parents after a DNA test confirmed his parents' claim. He was briefly known as 'Baby 81' because he was the 81st patient taken to Kalmunai hospital on December 26.

* Latest death toll per country: Indonesia, 234,730; Sri Lanka, 30,957; India, 16,389; Thailand, 5395; Somalia, 298; Maldives, 82 ; Malaysia, 68; Myanmar, 61; Tanzania, 10; Bangladesh, 2; Kenya, 1 for a total of 287,993

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See also
Caritas Thailand sending first aid shipment to Nargis victims
Msgr Gomis, Archbishop of Colombo: "My journey into the tsunami inferno"
Mystery surrounds alleged disappearance of 300 children from Banda Aceh
A month after the tsunami Christians leading reconstruction efforts
Sponsor a child, national forum at PIME headquarters in Milan


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