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Tsunami disaster, one year on now

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Tsunami disaster, one year on now

Postby dot dot dot » Mon, 26 Dec 2005 10:07 am

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Thousands gather for Thai tsunami memorials


KHAO LAK, Thailand - Mourning families and tsunami survivors gathered on beaches throughout southern Thailand on Monday to remember nearly 5,400 people who died in the monstrous waves exactly one year ago.

Some 2,000 relatives of foreign victims were expected to join 5,000 Thais where waves up to 10 meters (33 feet) high ripped through six provinces on Thailand's Andaman coast last December 26.

The day-long memorials follow a weekend of services including candlelight vigils, simple prayers and floral tributes.

The physical damage caused by the tsunami has largely been repaired.

Beaches that were littered with corpses and debris have been cleaned and rebuilt with memorial parks, tsunami warning towers and protective seawalls.

But for relatives of the victims and the survivors, the memorials mark a chance to find peace with a tragedy that for many remains an open wound.

Many families of the foreign victims waited months for the remains of their loved ones, and hundreds are still waiting.

For some relatives, the trip here offers a chance to make peace with a tragedy that consumed most of the year, German Red Cross worker Alexander Nikendei said.

"One German man told me, I am here, but I still don't know why I am here," Nikendei said. But the grieving man found peace in visiting the Buddhist temple where the bodies were cremated before repatriation.

"When he saw that this was a place worth putting someone in a crematorium, he realized that this was a real form of burial that he knew from Germany, where each dead person gets his time and dignity," Nikendei said.

Forensics experts are still working to identify more than 800 bodies, leaving families still waiting for funerals, burials or cremations.

Hundreds of the unidentified bodies are believed to be those of migrant workers from neighbouring Myanmar, whose relatives could be in Thailand illegally and afraid of approaching authorities.

The memorials begin Monday morning with the laying of flowers at six beaches where the waves struck, as well as at the Memorial Wall outside the forensics centre and cemetery where hundreds of bodies were kept.

Many groups of foreign families will also hold beachside services in their native languages, including memorials planned by groups of Australian, French, German, Norwegian and Swedish relatives of victims.

In the afternoon, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will lay a foundation stone for a tsunami memorial in Khao Lak, one of the regions hardest hit by the catastrophe.

At dusk, Thaksin will preside over an inter-faith service, where Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh prayers will be read.

Two young survivors of the tsunami, 11-year-old Briton Tilly Smith and 10-year-old Thai Patiwat Komkla, will read poems before mourners light hundreds of floating lanterns. - AFP/ir


Minute of silence marks one year after Asian tsunami

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia - One minute of silence was observed on Monday to mark the exact moment a year ago that the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami smashed ashore in Indonesia's Aceh province.

"Ladies and gentlemen, let us now bow our heads in silence to pray for the souls of hundreds of thousands who lost their lives as a result of the tsunami of December 26 last year," President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said.

"May they rest in peace by God's sight. The moment of silence begins," he said at a ceremony at the Ulee Lheu mosque on the outskirts of Banda Aceh, an area totally destroyed except for its mosque.

The president turned on a wailing siren, which activated an early warning system that is in the process of being set up to prevent a repeat of the tragedy that saw some 220,000 lives taken from Indian Ocean nations.

Of that toll, 168,000 were Indonesians and most died in the westernmost province of Aceh.

Yudhoyono listed the numbers of dead and missing across the 12 countries where people died when the waves crashed ashore after they were unleashed by one of the world's largest ever recorded earthquakes.

"We stand here together today in remembrance of that suffering, paying respect once again to the good men and women and all the children lost to the sea," he told the gathered crowd of about 500, including representatives from dozens of foreign countries.

"We bow our heads in deep prayers so that the souls of the loved ones, found or unfound, at land or at sea, have a proper resting place at God's side... We are here to also honour those who survived.

"These sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, parents, they all want to regain their lives."

At Banda Aceh's Baiturrahman Grand Mosque, hundreds of white-clad Acehnese gathered simultaneously and held a mass prayer led by top preacher Muhammad Arifin Ilham. - AFP/ir



One year ago today, approximately 230,000 people died and more than 1,800,000 got homeless.

I remember being in Holland when it happened and how the news developed from a simple earthquake to one of the world's all times big natural disasters.

Went to Phuket shortly before and after it happened, simply could not believe my eyes.

Still today when I read the news bulletins about it, I feel awkward, I truly hope the Tsunami network detection system will prevent this happening again...

In remembrance of all those affected, peace...

Eric

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Postby Saint » Mon, 26 Dec 2005 11:36 am

I also echo what Eric says.

My thoughts and prays go out to all the victims and their love ones

Saint

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Postby Vaucluse » Mon, 26 Dec 2005 8:50 pm

[-o< to them all.

Mrs 'Cluse and our kids went to Phuket a few times since, just to help out a bit, other parts of Thailand and the Maledives.

Prayers and thoughts to those that have died and their families
......................................................

'nuff said Image

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Postby k1w1 » Thu, 29 Dec 2005 9:22 pm

Mmm, just horrific. Literally minutes and just so much devastation. That's the bit that blows me away, I think. Just no warning.:cry:

I am sure this is still a very raw and terrible thing for many people but it is just amazing what the human spirit is capable of enduring. Now these stories are coming out now, just a year later and it is even more awesome. Just the grit that some of these people have shown in the face of situations so, so overwhelmingly terrible. Or of people who survived against incredible odds.

I agree Eric - I hope to God this can be prevented should something like this ever happen again.

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Re: Tsunami disaster, one year on now

Postby Wind In My Hair » Fri, 30 Dec 2005 11:54 pm

Eric from the Netherlands wrote:In remembrance of all those affected, peace...


amen, eric.

this sort of event makes me in a hurry to live well today, just in case my life is whisked from me in a breath, or the life of someone i love is taken... i wonder how many of those who died were ready to meet their maker, told their loved ones how much they were loved etc. probably not many, just as many of us still living take it for granted that we will have tomorrow to say and do all those important things. i'm learning everyday not to take life for granted, and events like this help remind me that a big part of living is ensuring that we are ready to die.

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Postby dot dot dot » Sat, 31 Dec 2005 12:01 am

I just cannot imagine the pain involved: your loved one(s), gone within a few seconds...

Thanks all for sharing and feeling the same way... :)

Eric


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