Tsunami Museum Opens in Indonesia

Indonesia has opened a $5.6 million museum to commemorate the 230,000 people who died in the 2004 Asian tsunami.

The four-level building in hardest-hit Aceh province exhibits photographs of victims, stories of survivors and an electronic simulation of the massive undersea earthquake that triggered the 30-foot-high waves.

It also describes the tremendous outpouring of support from governments, companies and individuals in the aftermath of the Dec. 26, 2004 disaster, which caused death and destruction in a dozen nations.

More than $13 billion was pledged to house and feed survivors and to rebuild devastated coasts.

The government says the museum, designed by local architect Ridwan Kamil, is an important part of the recovery process, paying tribute to those who died and explaining to future generations what happened and why.

The opening on Feb. 23 was not without controversy.

More than 700 families are still living in barracks in Aceh, which was home to two-thirds of the victims, and some were disappointed to see millions of dollars being spent on a monument.

"They should be taking care of us first," said Anisah Tahir, 50, who has been living with her husband and two children in a tiny room in a squalid camp in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh.

"We need a decent place to live and sleep," she said.

Indonesia is located in the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin, and is one of the world's most earthquake-prone regions.

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