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Fear of another killer wave

The world observes first anniversary of the December 26 catastrophe. Tell us your experiences | In pics

india Updated: Feb 02, 2006 12:26 IST

Mourners across the world gathered on Monday along ravaged Indian Ocean coastlines to remember thousands who died in last year's tsunami, one of the world's most horrific disasters.

A year on, a huge recovery operation has brought hope to hundreds of thousands of survivors. But the sorrow, pain and trauma from one of nature's most ferocious episodes remains strong -- along with fears that monster waves could come again.

"We think about the lost lives, lost property and lost jobs," said 19-year-old Kanagalingan Janenthra in Sri Lanka's eastern town of Batticaloa."We are in fear. Some of us think it might come again."

 

 A ceremony to commemorate the tsunami dead in Thailand

Survivors, friends and relatives joined national leaders and foreign dignitaries for memorials in the worst affected countries of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.

"In this wide open space ... under the blue sky, we stand together as God's children," Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in a flattened coastal suburb of Banda Aceh, capital of Indonesia's Aceh province after leading a minute of silence.

"It was under the same blue sky exactly a year ago that mother earth unleashed the most destructive power among us."

The tsunami left about 230,000 dead or missing in 13 Indian Ocean countries -- nearly three quarters of them in Aceh, on the northern tip of Sumatra -- and made 1.8 million homeless.

Some women cling desperately to hope their children somehow are still alive.

"In my heart, I still believe they are alive," said Yasrati, 38, who placed smiling photographs of her 13-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son in a local newspaper. "They are still somewhere, I don't know where but I can still feel it."

"This is my instinct as a mother."

'Victims are with us'

A 9.15 magnitude undersea earthquake off Sumatra triggered tsunami waves up to 10 metres (33 feet) that smashed into shorelines as far away as East Africa, sweeping holidaymakers off beaches and erasing entire towns and villages.

In southern Thailand, people from many parts of the world joined Thais in remembering the 5,395 known dead and nearly 3,000 listed as missing.

"I just want to cry. I find it hard to believe the whole thing," Australian Joy Vogel said at Khao Lak beach, clutching a wedding photograph of her daughter, who was three months pregnant when the tsunami snatched her and nearly 2,200 foreigners.

"But I feel all the tsunami people who died are with us. The essence of my daughter lives on," she said by a police patrol boat that was swept two kilometres (one mile) inland and has become a tsunami memorial.