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Banda Aceh (Indonesia) (AFP) - 05:31 GMT - Peace from Disaster - The disaster helped end a three-decade-long separatist conflict that had killed 15,000 people in Aceh, Indonesia. 05:24 GMT - Still Missing - Sri Lanka's Ocean Queen Express train stopped for a remembrance ceremony at the same spot it was hit by the Asian tsunami 10 years ago, killing about 1,000 passengers, AFP correspondent Claire Cozens reports. 05:10 GMT - Don't Forget - Experts warn the memory of that fateful day is fading, taking with it the appetite for disaster preparedness. For example, in the tourist haven of Phuket, Thailand, population density has continued to rise along coastal areas as developers build on lucrative but high-risk shore-front areas.
Prayers, tears and solemn visits to mass graves marked the start of commemorations Friday across tsunami-hit nations for the 220,000 people who perished when giant waves decimated coastal areas of the Indian Ocean a decade ago. On December 26, 2004 a 9.3-magnitude earthquake off Indonesia's western tip generated a series of massive waves that pummelled the coastline of 14 countries as far apart as Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Somalia. Among the victims were thousands of foreign tourists enjoying Christmas in the region, carrying the tragedy of an unprecedented natural disaster into homes around the world. A chorus of voices singing the Indonesian national anthem opened the official memorial at a 20-acre park in Indonesia's Banda Aceh -- the main city of the province closest to the epicentre of the massive quake and which bore the brunt of waves towering up to 35-metres (115 feet) high.