Tsunami Marked Six Months Later

Schoolchildren hold candles as they participate in a public meeting to mark six month of the 2004 tsunami in Nagapattinam, India, Sunday, June 26, 2005.
Marking the day six months ago that an earthquake and tsunami killed 178,000 people and left another 50,000 missing, volunteers in this Sri Lankan hamlet collected anything left from the rubble for an exhibition meant to help survivors mourn.

School bags, shoes, tea cups, television parts were all brought to a school in Vakarai, about 37 miles northeast of Batticaloa.

"This pair of shoes, my daughter liked most" read an inscription near a shoe.

Elsewhere across Asia, some places held ceremonies Sunday to mourn those lost and mark the day that devastated so many lives.

In India's worst affected area of Nagapattinam, a fisherman burned incense sticks before a coconut sapling planted by the shore. The plant, named after the fisherman Ravi Shankar's niece Nandini K., is among 207 saplings planted in the memory of children who died at the spot.

More than 11,000 people died in India, and fears of another tsunami linger, said Namaswaya, the head of a local fishermen cooperative in Nagapattinam.

"The water is very rough, so people don't want to go. There was also a rumor that there could be another tsunami at 6 a.m. today," he said.

In Indonesia, where people had gathered a day earlier to commemorate the 131,000 killed there, signs of hope mingled with new life as families filled the grounds of the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque in the heart of hardest-hit Banda Aceh and wedding parties were held throughout the provincial capital.

Clad in green and gold silk, with an elaborate headdress, Wanti Maulidar was nervously awaiting her groom for the traditional marriage ceremony.

"I realize today is the six-month anniversary of the tsunami, so there is a sad memory. But this is also a happy day for us and a way we can encourage others to look to a better future," she said.

Maulidar, 28, said she had already postponed her wedding earlier and did not want to wait longer to be married. But as an acknowledgment of the recent disaster, the couple decided to hold a modest party at home.