Asia to commemorate devastating 2004 tsunami

Asia to commemorate devastating 2004 tsunami

Asian countries are to hold a solemn day of prayers and remembrance to mark one of the world's worst natural disasters which killed over 230,000 people in 11 countries, Press TV reported.

People in the hardest hit countries - India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand - will hold commemorative ceremonies on Saturday to remember their dead during the December 26, 2004 tsunami resulting from the Indian Ocean mega-thrust 9.3-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra.

Indonesia's Aceh province lost almost 170,000 people. More than 50,000 people were killed in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand where a wall of water, as high as 30 meters (100 feet) smashed everything in its way.

The tremendous disaster and plight of many of the affected people have prompted nations to install sound alert systems to forewarn of imminent dangers.

India has spent $32 million on a tsunami warning system designed to detect all earthquakes above a magnitude of six on the Richter scale in the Indian Ocean, apparently within 20 minutes.

Sri Lanka is ready to send SMS warning alerts to mobile phones in the event of a disaster, while Thailand has set up 103 towers equipped with loudspeakers along the coast and has increased its radio reach in its six seaside provinces.

Indonesia has installed tsunami sirens in Banda Aceh, Bali and Padang, part of an integrated early warning system that relies on seismographs, satellites, tide gauges and deep-sea buoys to measure sudden surges in sea levels.

Despite holding earthquake drills and efforts to improve the knowledge of people about the risks they face in the face of a tsunami, there is still a lot to be learnt as many people are "still clueless" about how to identify and escape a tsunami, said Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, an earthquake expert with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.

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