Tsunami email tapes ‘disappear’

Tapes containing emails from government offices at the time of the tsunami catastrophe have mysteriously disappeared, according to Svenska Dagbladet.

Sources close to the daily newspaper revealed last month that a civil servant had stored 154 tapes in a basement safe at government offices despite the wishes of Bengt Nordqvist, a leading lawyer for the previous government, who wanted to have them removed.

Johan Hirschfeldt from the Catastrophe Commission, the authority charged with analysing the new material, explains that he has not received all of the tapes.

“I have 119 tapes, no more and no less,” Hirschfeldt told Svenska Dagbladet.

The tapes were found on October 12. Four days later Hirschfeldt and the Commission’s secretary Per Molander were given access to the locked basement room in which the tapes were stored. The safe’s combination lock was opened and the tapes came into the Catastrophe Commission’s possession.

The Commission had previously been informed that tapes containing e-mails from the day of the tsunami, December 26, 2004, were clearly marked with the specific date. These tapes however were not among those recovered by the Commission. Most of the other tapes were not dated.

Head of administration at government offices, Jan Landahl, is non-committal as to whether any tapes have disappeared.

“I have no idea how many tapes there were to begin with. I have only heard that there were more than 100 tapes,” Landahl told Svenska Dagbladet.