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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tsunami museum opens to commemorate 230,000 dead


Tsunami museum opens to commemorate 230,000 dead

BANDA ACEH: - Indonesia has opened a US$5.6 million (S$8.5 million) museum to commemorate the 230,000 people who died in the 2004 Asian tsunami.
The four-storey building in hardest-hit Aceh province exhibits photographs of victims, stories of survivors and an electronic simulation of the massive undersea earthquake that triggered the 10m-high waves.

It was designed by local architect Ridwan Kamil.

The museum also describes the tremendous outpouring of support from governments, companies and individuals in the aftermath of the Dec 26, 2004 disaster, which caused death and destruction in a dozen nations.

More than US$13 billion was pledged to house and feed survivors and to rebuild devastated coasts.

The government says the museum is an important part of the recovery process, paying tribute to those who died and explaining to future generations what happened and why.

The opening of the museum on Monday was not without controversy.

More than 700 families are still living in barracks in Aceh, which was home to two-thirds of the victims. Some were disappointed to see millions of dollars being spent on a monument.

'They should be taking care of us first,' said Madam Anisah Tahir, 50, who has been living with her husband and two children in a tiny room in a squalid camp in Banda Aceh.

'We need a decent place to live and sleep,' she said.

Indonesia is located in the so-called Pacific 'Ring of Fire', an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. It is one of the world's most earthquake-prone regions.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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