Tsunami cost Swedish authorities 315 million kronor

The Swedish authorities incurred costs of 315 million kronor last year for the relief effort following the tsunami catastrophe in the Indian Ocean in which 543 Swedes lost their lives.

“We have totalled our running costs and have been paid by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs,” said Hans Martinsson at the Swedish Rescue Services Agency in Karlstad.

At the same time, the breakdown of the costs to those agencies most actively involved following the disaster on Boxing Day 2004 has become clearer.

Of the 315 million kronor, the Swedish Rescue Services Agency, which coordinated the efforts in Thailand, has received 58.3 million from the foreign ministry. That included the costs of recruiting temporary funeral directors.

A further 18 million kronor was spent on transporting coffins and cold storage units with the Swedish Armed Forces’ Hercules planes.

The armed forces, for their part, reported costs of around 9 million kronor – mostly for the use of the base at Ärna airport outside Uppsala, where the deceased were first taken.

But the highest single cost – 97.4 million kronor – was incurred by the police. Of this, 49.2 million was spent on overtime, travel, transport of equipment, accommodation abroad and other extraordinary items. The ID Commission, which carried out the forensic work in identifying the bodies, cost the foreign ministry and the police 15 million kronor.

Ulf Westerberg, the director general of the National Board of Forensic Medicine, said that 9.4 million kronor was spent on forensics.

“We have had dentists, medical examiners and assistants employed on a project basis in Thailand,” said Westerberg.

The rest of the costs were incurred by the work at Ärna as well as the DNA analysis of relatives and the victims.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs also paid 38.5 million kronor to airlines for transport, according to the Swedish Rescue Services Agency paper, Sirenen.

A support group set up for victims and relatives cost 35 million kronor, while travel companies were reimbursed for 31.3 million kronor of extra costs. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ own costs were 20 million kronor while the National Board of Health and Welfare reported costs of 10.5 million kronor.

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