2004 tsunami showed importance of resilience in face of adversity: PM Lee

A rose sits on the beach near the Ban Nam Khem tsunami memorial park wall as the tenth anniversary of the 2004 tsunami is remembered in Phang-nga province on Dec 26, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A rose sits on the beach near the Ban Nam Khem tsunami memorial park wall as the tenth anniversary of the 2004 tsunami is remembered in Phang-nga province on Dec 26, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - The Boxing Day tsunami off Sumatra that claimed nearly 230,000 lives in 2004 displayed the fragility and uncertainty of human life, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday.

It also showed "how resilient and united we must be in the face of adversity", he said in remarks on Facebook exactly a decade after the disaster.

 

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"Natural calamities will happen again. We must be prepared for them, and work together to protect ourselves," Mr Lee added.

He recalled visiting Banda Aceh and Meulaboh in Indonesia - the closest areas to the epicentre of the earthquake that triggered the tsunami - days after the disaster, and being "overwhelmed by the extensive damage".

Singapore's armed forces were already on site to offer help, in their largest relief effort ever, Mr Lee said. Also assisting were the Republic's Home Team, non-governmental organisations and individual Singaporeans.

Mr Lee also remembered the strength of the Indonesians who had survived the tsunami. "Despite the trauma, grief and uncertainty, the survivors were determined to recover and not give up," he said.

"A decade later, many of the destroyed areas are again bustling with life. The survivors have also rebuilt their lives. But we also remember those who have perished."