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Tenth anniversary of tsunami: a time of hope amid pain

by
02 January 2015

by a staff reporter

PHOTOS CHRISTIAN AID/TIM A. HETHERINGTON

From the shore: images including previously unpublished work by the late photojournalist Tim Hetherington are in a current online exhibition by Christian Aid, "Tsunami: 10 Years After the Wave". Hetherington, who was killed in Libya in 2011, travelled to Sri Lanka and India as part of a commissioned exhibition that marked the first anniversary, in 2005. www.christianaid.org.uk/emergencies/past/tsunami/10-year-anniversary.html

From the shore: images including previously unpublished work by the late photojournalist Tim Hetherington are in a current online exhibition by Christian Aid, "Tsunami: 10 Years After the Wave". Hetherington, who was killed in Libya in 2011, travelled to Sri Lanka and India as part of a commissioned exhibition that marked the first anniversary, in 2005. www.christianaid.org.uk/emergencies/past/tsunami/10-year-anniversary.html

SURVIVORS and relatives of the 230,000 people who died in the Boxing Day tsunami across the Indian Ocean gathered to remember the devastating event a decade later.

Thousands of Indonesians gathered for a memorial service in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province on Sumatra. Banda Aceh was flattened by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Indonesia bore the brunt of the disaster: about 170,000 people lost their lives. Sri Lanka suffered the second highest number of deaths: 35,322 people were killed. Many Westerners, the majority from Germany, Scandinavia, and Australia, as well as 151 from Britain, died as the waves struck popular coastal resorts in Thailand and Sri Lanka.

The tsunami also devastated coastal communities in India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Malaysia, Somalia, Tanzania, Seychelles, Bangladesh, and Kenya, and left two million people homeless.

The head of Tearfund's Humanitarian support unit, Oenone Chadburn, was in Sri Lanka preparing for her marriage when the disaster struck. This Christmas, she returned, and, despite "painful memories", she said, there were many reasons to be encouraged.

"Communities now have better knowledge of what a tsunami is, there are improved co-ordination systems and many other ways to reduce the risk of future disasters. In short, communities are better-prepared, and that's a legacy which can only be good."

A huge relief effort raised millions from donors in the rest of the world. Millions of new homes were built for survivors.

Canon Jemima Prasadam, a retired priest in Birmingham, has raised thousands of pounds to help rebuild the village of Ramudu Palem in India, near her birthplace. She told the Birmingham Mail: "A primary school was built in the village with the £16,000 from donations. This was something that wasn't there before."

Canon Prasadam, who has been awarded an MBE for interfaith community work, said that it was "hugely traumatic", but "the communities have shown incredible strength".

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