King Carl Gustaf has spoken of his deep sympathy for the victims of the tsunami catastrophe in Asia in a statement released by the palace before he and Queen Silvia attended a prayer service at Stockholm Cathedral on Thursday.
“Many Swedes had chosen to spend this year’s Christmas and New Year holidays in a sunny paradise by the Indian Ocean. Suddenly the dream trip has become a tragedy,” he said.
The king said that he had sent telegrams of condolence to the leaders of the countries directly affected by the giant waves on Sunday morning, and noted that “the weak and the poor have, as always, been hit very hard”.
“But also for many families in Sweden the tragedy has provoked concern and uncertainty, where relatives are missing and have not been contacted. In some cases the uncertainty has already turned into sorrow.”
“My thoughts go out to all of you, who in many different ways show sympathy, commitment and courage in helping those who are suffering. There are many of us following your work and wish you all possible strength and perseverance.”
In the speech, which was broadcast on Swedish television and radio, King Carl Gustaf pointed out that the shock is so much worse since so many people have visited the areas affected “under different circumstances”. He said that it would take a long time before the full scale of the catastrophe became clear.
“I share the sorrow with you who are affected by the loss of loved ones and wish to convey my and my family’s deepest sympathy.”