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Prayers mark tsunami anniversary
December 26, 2005 21:55 IST
Candlelight marches, prayers and floral tributes on Monday marked the first anniversary of the tsunami disaster as tearful memories of the thousands who met with watery deaths flooded back along the shores of Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Kerala.
Nagapattinam, which accounted for 6,065 deaths on the mainland, saw a memorial park with 6,065 plants being opened, where children orphaned by the tsunami placed wreaths at a pillar. The pillar consists of a globe placed over a wave and, beside it, a clock recovered from the naval office reads 9:17 am, the time disaster struck the Tamil Nadu coastal district. "More than 200 bodies lay in Nagapattinam, but we can see children playing around.
This just goes to show the resilience of the people. Our heads bow before the victims and pledge to overcome the tragedy and emerge stronger," District Collector J Radhakrishnan said.
Special prayers and candlelight processions were held in Kanyakumari and a 16-feet concrete monument near the Devi Kumari Amman temple on the beach was unveiled by Tamil Nadu Health Minister Thalavoi Sundaram at 10:45 am, exactly to the hour when tragedy struck in 2004.
The killer waves claimed 798 lives in the district. An eerie silence pervaded the Indian Air Force Base at Car Nicobar where chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs dedicated a memorial while Nicobarese tribals in interior hamlets lit candles in memory of the dead. Kakana and Malacca near the Indian Air Force base saw families of the victims silently praying and moving from village to village.