24 countries mark 10th anniversary of 2004 tsunami

24 countries mark 10th anniversary of 2004 tsunami
The tsunami in 2004 killed over 200,000 people and left around one million homeless. File Photo
JAKARTA: Twenty-four countries on Monday attended an international conference to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 2004 tsunami that caused widespread destruction in countries including Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, Indonesia's Antara news agency reported.

Representatives of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and Asean also took part in the event organised in Jakarta by the Indonesian Meteorological, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

Regional Tsunami Service Providers (RTSPs) in India, Indonesia and Australia are the primary source of tsunami advisories for the Indian Ocean since 2012.
"We cannot just remember the tsunami's history but we must be able to do something to prevent casualties when a tsunami hits in future," said Indonesian Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister M. Nasir.

BMKG chairman Andi Eka Sakya said recommendations made at the conference would serve as input for the United Nations conference on disaster mitigation scheduled in Sendai, Japan on March 14-18 next year.

"This meeting is also to mark the establishment of the Indian Ocean tsunami early warning and mitigation System," Andi said.

On Dec 26, 2004, Indonesia's province of Aceh Darussalam and part of Nias district in North Sumatra province were hit by a gigantic tsunami that killed over 200,000 people and left around one million residents homeless.

The tsunami, caused by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, affected 18 countries in southeast Asia and southern Africa.

The disaster killed more than 250,000 people in a single day and rendered at least 1.7 million others homeless.

Other countries affected by the tsunami included Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Bangladesh, Somalia and Tanzania.