Tourists from Latvia mostly spared by tsunamis

At least one tourist from Latvia has been reported hurt in the aftermath of the Dec. 26 tsunamis that claimed at least 80,000 lives throughout South Asia, the news agency LETA reports. Meanwhile, the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says a total of 228 tourists from Latvia might have been in the affected countries.

Vladimirs Kuļišovs, a businessman from Latvia, lost a finger and suffered a broken leg when a tsunami hit the coastal resort of Phuket in Thailand, where he, his wife, his son and his son’s girlfriend were vacationing, according to LETA.

The Foreign Ministry said Dec. 29 that so far it has verified that 206 of the 228 tourists were not hurt.

Earlier, accounting for 126 tourists, the Foreign Ministry said the greatest number, 73,  were in Thailand. A total of 37 were believed to be in Sri Lanka. Nine were India, 26 were in the Maldives, five were in Malaysia, and seven were in Bali in Indonesia.

A number of tourists from Latvia in Sri Lanka and Thailand have lost their passports, the Foreign Ministry said.

The tsunamis were caused by a powerful earthquake—registering 8.9 on the 10-point Richter scale—that occurred the morning of Dec. 26 in the Indian Ocean about 160 kilometers (100 miles) west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Particularly hard hit by the tsunami was the Sri Lankan coastal district of Batticaloa, where an estimated 12,500 people have perished, according to news reports.

Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga sent messages of condolence to the presidents of Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and Maldives, as well as to the king of Thailand, the president’s press secretary said.

(Updated 29 DEC 2004)

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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