Howard Statement On Tsunami Anniversary

It is one year since the Indian Ocean tsunami devastated areas of the sub-continent and South Asia.

Around a quarter of a million people lost their lives in one of the most deadly natural disasters of recent times.

This is the text of a media statement from the Prime Minister, John Howard.

FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE INDIAN OCEAN TSUNAMI

I invite all Australians to join me today in marking the first anniversary of the terrible events of Boxing Day last year, when the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami caused loss of life and property on an almost unimaginable scale.

More than 225,000 people lost their lives, including 26 Australians in Thailand and in Sri Lanka. We pause today to remember these victims. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the injured and the families of those who lost their lives.

With the passing of 12 months, only now can the response of the international community to the unparalleled humanitarian and reconstruction challenges presented by the tsunami be seen in its true light. Australians were among the first to provide on-the-ground assistance in Aceh and in the days, weeks and months following the tsunami made large and generous donations that illustrate the decency and good heart of our nation. The $1 billion Australia Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development, the largest individual assistance package in our history, has already been instrumental in supporting reconstruction and development efforts, both in and beyond tsunami-affected areas in Indonesia.

Images and reports of the scale of devastation and loss of life moved governments and people throughout the world to respond with a generosity of spirit that transcended race, religion and nationality. This commitment to the devastated areas will stand as a lasting and positive legacy of the events of 26 December 2004.

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