Tsunami-Hit Nations Mark 10th Anniversary

Ceremonies pay tribute to more than 225K dead
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2014 2:27 AM CST
Tsunami-Hit Nations Mark 10th Anniversary
In Banda Aceh, 59 people survived the tsunami by climbing aboard a fishing boat that landed on top of where they were sheltering.   (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)

A decade after one of history's worst natural disasters killed more than 225,000 people in 14 countries, memorial ceremonies for Indian Ocean tsunami victims are being held across the region.

  • In Indonesia, the worst-hit country with more than 170,000 deaths—126,000 of them in Aceh province alone—thousands in the provincial capital Banda Aceh gathered at the Great Mosque yesterday, which was one of the few buildings left standing after the devastation, the BBC reports. The mosque's imam praised the "harmony and peace" that prevailed after the disaster, which led to a peace deal to end a 30-year separatist conflict in the region.

  • In Sri Lanka, the Ocean Queen Express train will be at the center of memorial events. More than 31,000 Sri Lankans were killed by the tsunami, including at least 1,700 who were on the train.
  • In Thailand, where tourists from 38 countries were among the more than 5,000 dead, survivors from around the world joined a beachside service. "I didn't expect it would touch me so much after 10 years again because I've come back every now and then in recent years," a German survivor who nearly lost her leg tells the AP. "But this has been a completely different experience now connecting with all the other people."
  • The freak wave—spawned by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra—took many coastal communities completely by surprise, wiping some of them entirely off the map. One legacy of the disaster has been a tsunami early warning system in the area, the Guardian reports in a look at how more than $6 billion in donations was spent.
  • At many memorial ceremonies, stories of hope and cooperation after the disaster were emphasized. One such story surfaced this summer, when a girl who was 4 years old when she was washed away by the tsunami was finally reunited with her parents, who thought she died in the disaster.
(Read more tsunami stories.)

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