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Spanish pathologists reveal horror of Thailand

12 January 2005

BANGKOK-Spanish pathologists working in Thailand in the tsunami relief effort described the horrifying conditions under which they were working in the morgues.

“It is tough. Very tough. I have never seen anything like this, not only because of the human drama, but because of the conditions in which we have to work,” said Jose Luis Gonzalez, head of the Spanish team.

The Spaniards have been working in Thailand for the past ten days.

Gonzalez said they had become accustomed to the heat and the humidity, but not the smell of dead bodies.

He also said they were still coming to terms with the image of hundreds of dead bodies in the Wat yang Yao temple in Khao Luk.

They are working against the clock to try to identify the dead before their bodies decompose too much.

The four-strong team from the Spanish police arrived on 4 January at Phuket, a popular tourist resort.

They spend much of their working day in the Buddhist temple at Wat Yang Yao or the beach at Khao Luk, one of the most important tourist zones in the country.

Gonzalez said: “The work is enormous, there is not time for anything.”

There are between 2,000-3,000 unidentified bodies in three centres.

Gonzalez said: “We did not sleep much, our working days are long and with this we have to add the heat and the humidity, which makes a tough job almost unbearable.”

They are concentrating on non-Asian dead, in an effort to identify all the tourists who perished in the tsunami disaster.

The work is made more difficult because in some cases it is hard for the pathologists to make out the faces because bodies have been so badly decomposed.

In other cases, though they were tourists, they have Asian features, which makes the job harder for the Spanish team, said Gonzalez.

The Spanish team are among 300 experts from all over the world helping the relief effort, coordinated by Interpol.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news