Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other Indian Ocean countries are marking the first anniversary of the tsunami disaster with memorials for the estimated 230-thousand people killed.
The day's remembrances began in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono turned on a new tsunami warning siren at eight-16 a.m. local time (0116 UTC), the exact minute the first wave struck. Mr. Yudhoyono thanked the international community for its contributions, but said there is still much more to do. Indonesia is known to have lost nearly 170-thousand people.
Sri Lanka's main ceremony took place in the southern village of Peraliya, where the tsunami derailed a passenger train and killed more than one-thousand people. Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is taking part in day-long commemorations along the country's southwestern coast. Some Thai residents disapprove, saying the ceremonies are too expensive and inappropriate.
Sri Lankans and Indians are holding vigils to mark the first anniversary of the tsunami disaster that devastated coastal communities in the Indian Ocean.
On Sri Lanka's hard-hid eastern coast, villagers have erected small shrines with photographs of the dead. Some villagers expressed concern that rebuilding could be slowed by clashes between government forces and Tamil rebels.
India held tributes for the victims in the Nicobar Islands, located very near the massive earthquake that set off the tsunami. The Indian air force unveiled a memorial to more than 100 pilots and their relatives killed when the waves overran their base. Thousands of tribespeople prayed for calm.
World leaders have marked the first anniversary of the tsunami disaster in videotaped condolences sent to Indian Ocean communities.
Their messages were shown today (Monday) at a ceremony in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. President Bush said it was a day of sorrow that reminded everyone the world is not always a safe place in which to live. But he said faith can inspire people of all religions to work together for the sake of future generations.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the tsunami was so quick, brutal and extensive that people are still struggling to fully comprehend it. He also praised the global response, saying millions of people around the world stepped forward to help.
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