Chalermpong Sukontapol, Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, the main government hospital in Phuket, has subsequently called for any donations of “freezer units” that may be used to store bodies as a temporary measure.
“The number of tourists whose bodies have already been recovered and the number of those still listed as missing totals 56 people. Our morgue cannot accommodate all those dead bodies,” Mr Chalermpong explained in a notice issued today (July 7).
“If we cannot come up with some arrangement, we will have to send some of the bodies to be kept at other hospitals inside – and outside – Phuket,” he noted.
“This brings only extra difficulty and hardship for family members coming to identify their loved ones,” Mr Chalermpong said.
“We need more freezer units in whoch to keep bodies only temporarily. We need about 40 of them. Anyone who wants to donate or lend any such units are urged to please contact Vachira Hopsital by calling 076-361330 or 062-2321445,” Mr Chalermpong added.
With limited space at Vachira Hospital, a staging area is being set up on the helipad behind Phuket Provincial Police Station in Phuket Town.
‘We will set up a victim identification centre there so victims’ families can come and identify their family members, and we will rent freezer units to keep bodies there if need be,” Mr Chalermpong noted.
Meanwhile, officials yesterday and today have given much attention to how much compensation, including insurance claims, will be made available to the victims and their families.
The Phuket office of the Attorney General will oversee insurance payments made to all victims and their families, it was announced at the disaster command centre, set up at the Phuket Marine Office at Chalong Pier, last night.
Panas Theerawanitkul, an executive of Bangkok Insurance, confirmed that T.C. Blue Dream Co, which operated the Phoenix, was insured by his firm, reported the Bangkok Post. (See story here.)
The firm would provide one million baht in compensation to each victim’s family in case of death and B500,000 each to injured victim for medical treatment. Staff would be sent to the hospital where the victims are being treated and compensation would be expedited for all victims, he said.