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
"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
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".