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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 January, 2005, 15:23 GMT
Sri Lanka remembers tsunami dead
Sri Lankans offer tsunami prayers at Hikkaduwa, south of Colombo
Wednesday was a day of mourning across Sri Lanka
Ceremonies have been taking place in Sri Lanka one month after coastal areas were devastated by December's Indian Ocean tsunami.

The country observed one minute's silence at 0936 local time (0336 GMT), when the giant waves first struck land.

More than 31,000 Sri Lankans are confirmed to have died in the disaster.

In India, where the official death toll is nearly 11,000, the one-month anniversary has been overshadowed by Republic Day celebrations.

'United in grief'

Radio and television stations in Sri Lanka stopped broadcasting to mark the minute's silence.

We have got nothing from the government
Tsunami survivor in Galle

"All Sri Lankans are united in grief and the need to rise above any differences, political or otherwise, to work together to rebuild the nation," said Harim Peiris, presidential spokesman and head of the government's relief and reconstruction efforts.

Rebel Tamil Tigers declared Wednesday to be a day of mourning in the northern and eastern areas of the country they control.

"Let us all share in the grief and bereavement of our brethren who have lost their beloved ones," a Tamil Tiger statement said, the AFP news agency reports.

Buddhist monks light candles at Talpe, south of Colombo
Buddhist monks light candles at Talpe, south of Colombo

In many parts of the country, people gathered at candle-lit religious ceremonies to remember the dead.

"We are praying that tsunami will never return," Buddhist monk L Chandarasani said near the southern town of Galle, in government-controlled territory, the Associated Press agency reports.

But mourners also voiced their anger at the slow process of aid and reconstruction.

"We have not received any assistance yet," one banner on a homeless person's tent said.

"We have got nothing from the government," one man near Galle told AP.

In Tamil Tiger-controlled areas, the distribution of aid has been a deeply contentious issue between the rebels and the government.

Indians want more help

The worst affected part of the Indian mainland was Tamil Nadu where more than 8,000 people died.

The BBC's Sampath Kumar, in the town of Cuddalore where more than 1,000 people died, says survivors are struggling to rebuild their lives.

Mourning the dead amongst tsunami debris in Nagapattinam, Tami Nadu
Mourning the dead at Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu

Fishermen there are still living in fear, fuelled by rumours that, because there is a full moon, the sea might rise again.

In the small fishing hamlet of Peranodai, a group of fishermen went to sea on Tuesday in 10 new boats provided by a non-governmental organisation.

To instil confidence among the fishermen, a senior district official and a state minister accompanied them to sea.

One fisherman, Ayyanar, told the BBC that 10 boats were not enough to rebuild the local industry.

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It is still the very beginning of a very long, painstaking and time-consuming task
Mary McCannon, Budapest, Hungary

In the village of Devanampattinam one man told the BBC how he and others could not get compensation for their dead relatives because the bodies had not been found.

"The district authorities have promised that the money would be given," he said

Meanwhile, the authorities have been setting up temporary shelters made of zinc sheets with concrete asbestos roofing for the homeless.

Non-governmental organisations say the people affected need psychological help.


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