Latvia says tourists safe, approves donation

All tourists from Latvia who were visiting countries affected by the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunamis in southern Asia have been accounted for, the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced. In the meantime, the government has approved a LVL 100,000 donation to relief efforts, but some have criticized the sum as too little.

Vladimirs Kuļišovs, the Latvian tourist who suffered injuries while vacationing on the island of Phuket, Thailand, returned to Rīga on Jan. 4. A total of 228 tourists from Latvia were in India, Indonesia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Thailand, the Foreign Ministry said in a Jan. 4 press release.

In Latvia, several efforts are underway to raise money for relief efforts. The Latvian Red Cross has advertised for donations, while students from Sri Lanka have solicited for donations in Rīga.

The government also called for a nationwide moment of silence Jan. 5.

About 145,000 people died in the earthquake and tsunamis, but officials fear many more will die from disease in the coming weeks.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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