Anniversary of 2004 Asian tsunami: 400 bodies still unidentified
It will be four years on December 26th since the 2004 Asian tsunami struck, proving how vulnerable and unprotected humans still are against the powerful forces of nature.
But to this day, 400 bodies of tsunami victims have not been identified and are kept at the Thai Tsunami Victim Identification and Repatriation Center in Thailand's Phangnga. In total, around 225,000 people, mostly foreign tourists, were killed as the result of the tsunami.
This year's commemoration ceremonies are scheduled in many tsunami-afflicted nations. Sri Lanka will hold a two minute silence on Friday, December 26th. The Sri Lankan government has also declared December 26th a day of National Safety.
Thailand will hold solemn ceremonies for their victims as well. Thai government will conduct a series of disaster evacuation drills on December 26th this year during its National Disaster Prevention Day.
Meanwhile, Oxfam International is finally shutting down its relief response fund for tsunami victims established in 2004. Over the last four years, the fund has collected 155 million pounds to help tsunami victims.
An Oxfam spokesman said: "We decided four years was the amount of time it would take to spend the money responsibly. Although this particular pot of money has been finished, if there is a need we will start new programmes."
The money helped to assist 2.5 million people in seven tsunami-affected countries, including Sri Lanka and India. It provided clean water and sanitation to people displaced by the disaster and allowed houses and schools to be rebuilt.
Barbara Stocking, chair of the Oxfam International Tsunami Fund Board, described the response to the tsunami as "astounding".
She added: "The money we received allowed us not only to help meet the immediate emergency needs of tsunami-affected populations, but also to try to address the factors that made them vulnerable, not least poverty and a lack of influence over their own lives.