Prayers, tears mark tsunami anniversary from Sri Lanka to Indonesia

BAN NAM KHEM, Thailand, Dec 26 (AFP) – With prayers and flowers and tears, from Thailand’s beaches to the islands of India, mourners paid tribute to their loved ones Tuesday on the second anniversary of the Asian tsunami.

Emotional ceremonies across the region recalled the day when giant waves killed 220,000 people in a sweep of devastation that washed entire villages away — and left many that survived struggling to recover.

“I lost my father and his wife and my brother two years ago,” said Linda Sander, who had come from Sweden to join hundreds of mourners at Ban Nam Khem, a tiny fishing village in hard-hit Thailand.
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Some threw flowers out to sea as dawn broke, tears welling in their eyes. Others stood in silent remembrance of the 5,400 killed in the village, more than half of whom were tourists.
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“I feel strange,” said Sander, who had booked a room in the same hotel as her doomed family. “I will attend every ceremony held today.”

Similar scenes were replayed around Asia, as people still grappled with the tragedy and destruction two years after one of the worst natural disasters ever recorded.

With no comprehensive early-warning system in place, the waves — rising up after a massive 9.3-mag

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