Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Today is the Second Anniversary of Deadly Tsunami

Ten year old "Tina," whom I met in January 2005 in a refugee shelter in Banda Aceh, Indonesia represents for me the tens of thousand children whose lives were devastated by the tsunami

Moments of silence, prayers and low-key ceremonies marked the day to remember the moment when huge waves slammed into 12 countries around the Indian Ocean leaving a trail of death and destruction. An estimated 230,000 people were killed or went missing.

Indonesia's northernmost province, Aceh, lost about 167,000 people in the disaster and authorities on Bali island held a tsunami drill to test a new alert system and raise public awareness early Tuesday, December 26.

Sri Lanka officially marked the anniversary with Buddhist prayers for its 35,000 dead, and by erecting the first of 100 coastal towers to warn of impending disasters, but it was believed that the minority Christians held their own ceremonies. Elsewhere, multi-faith ceremonies are taking place in India, which lost 18,000 people to the tsunami, and in Thailand, where 8,200 people died, about half of them foreign tourists, news reports said.

The tsunami was caused by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake under the ocean floor off Indonesia's Sumatra, experts say.

Today, we remember with particular sadness the second death anniversary of our dear friend, Tamara Mendis of Chicago. Her husband Eardley is pastor of Purna Jiwan South Asian Church, an ELCA affliated congregation in Chicago.


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