World marks 10th Anniversary of Indian Ocean Tsunami

Aceh, Dec 26: It's been 10 years on this day a powerful tsunami triggered by earthquake devastated the nations across Asia claiming millions of human and sea lives. The memorials and events are being held across the continent to mark the disastrous tragedy today.

The devastating Indian Ocean tsunami on December 26, 2004, had affected 14 nations including Indonesia, India, East coast of Africa and killed around 230,000 people. Many victims are still missing and some were not identified.

The disaster triggered by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake swept the communities, families and tourists on holidays after Christmas. The survivors still get shivered and frightened while remembering the horror of the tragedy. The corpse-filled waters into the Sea could not be forgotten in life time and those who had witnessed this would never fight against each other and pray for safety and peace.

Memorial services are being held in Indonesia and other nations for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami on the 10th anniversary of the disaster.

In Indonesia's province of Aceh - the worst hit area - Vice-President Jusuf Kalla led tributes to the dead at the Siron mass grave.

Memorial ceremonies also take place in Thailand and Sri Lanka.

More than 200,000 people died when an underwater earthquake set off massive waves on 26 December 2004.

In Aceh's capital, Banda Aceh, Mr Kalla thanked local volunteers and the outside world for helping Aceh recover from the tragedy. He also presented awards to ambassadors from the donor nations.

Earlier, thousands of people earlier gathered at the city's Great Mosque - a 19th Century building that was one of the few structures in the town to survive the tsunami.

The mosque's imam, Asman Ismail, said the tsunami had taught a "valuable lesson" to Aceh, which had been the scene of an armed conflict for nearly 30 years.

"After the tsunami, no-one fights against each other, people live in harmony and peace till this day," he said.

Efforts to end the conflict resumed after the tsunami, culminating in a peace deal between the government and the rebels in August 2005.

In Thailand, people are marking the anniversary with a series of solemn events and religious rites throughout the day.

In the small fishing village of Ban Nam Khem, Phang Nga province, people have been laying flowers at a memorial wall displaying names of the victims.

The village was devastated by the massive waves.

Nearly 5,500 people died in Thailand, including many tourists from European countries.

In Sri Lanka, the Ocean Queen Express train - which has become a symbol of the tragedy for the nation - will be at the centre of commemorative events.

The overcrowded train was hit by the tsunami south of the capital Colombo. More than 1,700 people died, in what was the world's biggest rail disaster.

The strength of the quake off Indonesia's coast - the biggest tremor in the world since 1964 - unleashed giant waves that rushed across the Indian Ocean.

The tsunami also hit Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Maldives and later reached the east African nations' of Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania.

-With BBC inputs

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