It has been 30 months since the waves struck the coasts of Sri Lanka in the morning hours of Dec. 26, 2004. Since then, in a pattern that has become symbolic of the divided nature of the South Asian island, parts of the country have motored ahead with the reconstruction effort, while others have lagged woefully behind.
Reports of radiation leakages at a nuclear power plant, following the Niigata earthquake on Monday, have raised widespread public alarm and dealt a devastating blow to the government’s plans to boost the nuclear power industry, both domestically and abroad.
The road that links Iskandar Muda airport to the provincial capital of Banda Aceh buzzes with renovation work. The trucks loaded with construction material and the taxies that ply up and down the road, once bristling with security check points, are sure signs of Aceh’s recovery.
Against the deep grey monsoon clouds looming large over the sparkling greenery of northern Kerala, Kallan Pokkudan stood like a hero, bearing his canoe's oar, a pole and a water bottle. "I am going to inspect the mangrove,’’ said the stocky, middle-aged farmer.
Just weeks ago Subodh Patra, a villager on the Indian Sunderbans, lost the crops on his one-acre farm to rising sea water. And now he and his family dare not sleep at night for fear that even their humble dwelling will be inundated.
Andrews Ambrose never misses a chance to share the wisdom he gained from 40 years of life as a fisherman on this coastal strip. He has to his credit two books and a map of the seabed.
Fear of a tragedy similar to the one caused in Asia by the tidal wave in the Indian Ocean just after Christmas in 2004 has alarms buzzing in the Caribbean, where moves are afoot to establish an Early Warning System (EWS) for tsunamis.
Mohideen Ajeemal is determined to put the dark days of the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami, which claimed two of his children, behind him.
Questions that have dogged the tsunami recovery effort through 2006 coalesced in a crop of media stories and critical reports as affected countries remembered in prayer and reflection the over 220,000 people killed in that December 2004 natural disaster.
Painful reminders and sources of healing - this is the paradox that characterises the photographs that 144 young tsunami survivors took during their two-year journey toward healing.
Katrina-devastated Florida has much to learn from the people of Cuddalore, coastal Tamil Nadu, for the speed with which permanent shelters were provided to all tsunami survivors, observed former United Nations special envoy for tsunami recovery Bill Clinton while on a visit to southern India early December.
As it approaches the second anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Indonesian province of Aech, which took the worst beating, is basking in a spirit of hope that would have been hard to imagine two years ago.
As the death toll in the earthquake and tsunami that struck Java island's southern coast on Monday crossed the 500 mark, officials admitted to having been caught by surprise, despite the elaborate precautions taken after earthquake-triggered monster waves smashed into Aceh province in northern Sumatra in December 2004.
''Acehnese children have come alive. They are like horses galloping, full of enthusiasm and conviction,'' wrote ten-year-old Titan Putra Arian, a grade four student at an elementary school here.
Every year, the U.N.'s Department of Public Information (DPI) unveils its list of the world's 10 most under-reported stories, implying that politics, murder and sex scandals still take precedence over poverty, peace-building or economic development.
A series of attacks on security forces, this week, has vitiated the atmosphere for a second round of parleys in Geneva between the Sri Lankan government and the militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), set for Apr.19-20.
The humbling of President Mahinda Rajapakse's nationalist allies, in last week's local body elections, has vastly improved chances for the Norway-mediated peace talks in Geneva between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels.
Sri Lankan human rights lawyer Nimalka Fernando says "the world is steeped in racism and religious intolerance," which threaten the very existence of minority communities in countries like her own.
The famed sand mines of Manalkadhu vanished in a swirl of houses and people when gigantic waves crashed into the village on Dec. 26, 2004.
Unable to compete with younger survivors for scarce resources and largely excluded from international aid efforts, thousands of elderly people were neglected in the initial aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
A law-abiding citizen, Mohideen Ajimal is nevertheless happy to have violated a 'no-build-buffer-zone' on the beach to re-establish a business selling fish wholesale, wrecked by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which flattened three-quarters of this island country's coasts.