John Allison/Monkhouse Tsunami Relief
The 26th December 2004, will be remembered by all as the day a devastating event occurred in South East Asia, specifically the Thailand region.
John Allison/Monkhouse was involved in the relief effort and below is an excerpt by Clive Allison, Managing director of John Allison/Monkhouse outlining the events after the disaster.
“After a lot of anguish I decided to go as Thailand had been good to my firm and this was an opportunity to return the thanks. We were under resourced for the task. I arrived in Bangkok on the Friday 2 days after the tsunami and by 5 pm I had purchased 2 refrigerated containers which were trucked to Phuket. Trucks from the factory in Chiang Mai were dispatched with 300 coffins. On the Saturday morning I met the Governor of Phuket in his city who gave me a car park with security and 3 KVA power for the fridges near Phuket City. The weekend I arrived was a 4 day public holiday weekend so any one involved had holidays cancelled so they could assist.
By Monday morning all coffins, fridges were in place, power connected and all under cover. The local funeral director commenced working with us. We were the first to do this with others taking up to a month to establish their larger operations.
After a couple of months we moved to assist the Swedish and Finnish communities who had the largest number of citizens to repatriate. Adjacent to the airport in a 20 foot tent we built transport boxes which assisted air transport. In June, we became responsible for the management of the site and continued our involvement until the final internments 18 months later.
The task was difficult but our Thai staff were multi skilled and prepared to overcome superstitions. We were formally thanked by the Swedish and Finnish consulates. As a result of this effort we were the preferred funeral director chosen by Lloyds of London to assist in the 1 2 Go air crash in 2007. We now have branches in Bangkok, Pattya, Phuket and an agency in Laos.”