Outdoor museum to be built in Phangnga in memory of tsunami victims

Outdoor museum to be built in Phangnga in memory of tsunami victims

Outdoor museum in memory of tsunami

A commemoration ceremony is held in Phangnga province in 2014 to mark the 10th anniversary tsunami in Thailand. (File photo by Patipat Janthong)
A commemoration ceremony is held in Phangnga province in 2014 to mark the 10th anniversary tsunami in Thailand. (File photo by Patipat Janthong)

An outdoor museum is going to be built in Phangnga in memory of the thousands of lives lost in the tsunami that ravaged the province in 2004.

The construction of the museum, to be overseen by the Culture Ministry, is set to begin next year at Ban Nam Khem fishing village in Takua Pa district, a place already popular among tourists wishing to learn about the devastating impact the tsunami had.

The tsunami museum project, which will be built with a budget of 64.8 million baht, comes at a time when many tourists to Takua Pa have been complaining that authorities have failed to maintain the area and that it lacks proper facilities such as clean toilets.

Culture Minister Vira Rojpojchanarat hopes the new museum, expected to open its doors to tourists in the next two years, will be a new "centre of culture and tourism" in Ban Nam Khem along with its primary function of serving as a tsunami memorial.

Its construction will be divided into two phases. The first will see the acquisition of two fishing boats and the construction of the outdoor museum. The boats have historic significance because they are among those that were washed ashore in Takua Pa district by the tsunami.

The two fishing boats, designed in the local style and painted orange and blue, not only tell visitors of the disaster but also of the local culture, said Mr Vira said yesterday as he presided over a merit-making ceremony for the more than 5,000 Thai and foreign holidaymakers killed by the tsunami.

Phangnga was among six provinces that were slammed by a series of gigantic waves 12 years ago on Dec 26. The others, also situated on the Andaman Coast, were Ranong, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun.

Phuket will hold a ceremony to mark the event at Patong beach tomorrow evening, said Patong mayor Chaloemlak Kepsap.

The 2004 tsunami was triggered by a powerful quake under the sea. After the disaster, authorities built several warning towers as a precaution against similar events in the future.

Part of the outdoor museum, to be located near a beach, will be a building that will serve as what Mr Vira called a "backdrop" for the two fishing boats. The building's design is inspired by local fishing gear, he said.

Now the design has been completed, the next step will be to find constructors as early as next month, Mr Vira said.

His ministry also plans to ask for additional budget of 30 million baht for interior design work in 2018.

The location of the museum is not far from a spot where To 813, a 60-tonne boat owned by the Marine Police Division, currently stands. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the heavy boat was washed about one kilometre off the sea by a huge wave.

It has become a memorial of the incident and a new attraction among tourists.

However, many visitors have been disappointed by facilities at the venue. One Facebook user who said he was among survivors at tambon Khuek Khak in Takua Pa unleashed his dissatisfaction on his Facebook page.

"The place is not well maintained by state agencies. There are no lights at night. Toilets are dirty. There's no water too," he wrote.

Phangnga governor Phakkhaphong Thawiphat said the Royal Thai Police Office is in the process of transferring its assets to the Treasury Department. This will enable Phangnga to start its plan to better develop the venue.

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