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  Monday, December 9, 2019
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Thousands of people worldwide are attending memorial services on Wednesday
Thousands of people worldwide are attending memorial services on Wednesday to mark the third anniversary of the devastating Asian tsunami, one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern history.

On December 26, 2004 a powerful undersea earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale with an epicenter off the west coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered a series of tsunamis. Tidal waves devastated the shores of 11 countries in the Indian Ocean - Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Somalia, Myanmar, Maldives, Malaysia, Tanzania, Seychelles and Bangladesh.

The disaster is said to have claimed at least 225,000 lives. Indonesia was the worst-hit country, and still mourns its 200,000 dead and the scores still missing.

In the morning, sirens blared in a simulated tsunami warning in Indonesia. Many people visited the mass graves in Aceh, the worst-hit province on the tip of the Island of Sumatra, where about 170,000 people died.

In Thailand, Buddhist monks held a blessing ceremony and in the evening, thousands of mourners gathered at Patong beach in Phuket releasing balloons to commemorate over 5,400 killed.

Sri Lanka, where over 30,500 died after towering waves battered two-thirds of its shoreline, has introduced National Safety Day in memory of the victims. A special prayer was conducted in the village of Peraliya, where a giant wave struck a train, killing all 2,000 passengers the world's worst ever train disaster.

India where over 9,500 people died, mostly in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala provinces, as well as in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, held memorial services across the country to remember the victims three years on. Many people have criticized the government for their slow response in rehabilitating those affected by the tragedy with over 20,000 families still living in temporary shelter.


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