marks 1 month since tsunami
GALLE, Sri Lanka - Sri Lankans
lighted candles and chanted prayers for the dead
to mark one month since the tsunami Wednesday;
mourners on a Thai island launched two new
fishing boats in a first step toward rebuilding
the devastated local fleet.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jan. 27, 2005
On the hardest-hit Indonesian
island of Sumatra, there were no memorials, but
children went back to school and the empty desks
of dead classmates.
A month after killer waves swept
away more than 140,000 lives and ravaged
coastlines around the Indian Ocean, survivors
quietly remembered the tragedy and carried on
with the struggle to rebuild their lives. But
behind the public grieving was a deepening sense
of frustration at the slow pace of recovery
"We have not received any
assistance yet," read a banner strung between
tents housing survivors in Sri Lanka's southern
city of Galle.
Candles and multicolored Buddhist
flags lined a highway hugging the coast of Sri
Lanka, where nearly 31,000 people died and a
million were displaced by the Dec. 26 tsunami.
At the Ariyakara Viharaya temple
near Galle, more than 2,000 oil lamps flickered
in memory of the dead. Monks chanted on
loudspeakers. Devotees brought fresh flowers.
"In memory of that day, for the
missing and dead in all the countries, we are
praying that a tsunami will never return," said
L. Chandaransi, the head monk.
In Indonesia, where at least
96,000 died, there were no government or
religious events to mark the day. Instead,
officials said a proper remembrance was to send
children back to school for the first official
day of class since the tragedy.
Students in ravaged Aceh province
returned to find their schools filled with mud
and debris, with books, computers and materials
strewn everywhere. Many of their friends and
teachers were gone forever.
Alqausar, a 6-year-old boy with
neatly parted hair and a Power Rangers bag,
arrived at school with his mother and wondered
about his best friend, Andi. After about two
hours of glancing repeatedly at the school gate,
it hit him.
"I don't think he's coming," he
Only six of his class of 43
showed up. Out of the 600 enrolled at SD Kartika
primary school, just 260 returned. The rest are
At another school, English
teacher Roslina Ramli - who lost four children
to the tsunami - was one of 25 teachers who came
to school. Before the tsunami, the faculty was
"I have to put on a brave face,"
said Roslina. "Teachers are supposed to give the
students strength and guidance, but it will be
In one classroom, workers found a
body Wednesday while shoveling out thick mud.
The government estimates that 700
to 1,100 schools in the province were destroyed
and 1,750 primary-school teachers were dead or
missing. Nearly 180,000 students have no schools
to go to, Welfare Minister Alwi Shihab said.