Singapore Red Cross launches photo exhibition to commemorate 2004 tsunami

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Red Cross (SRC) has launched a photo exhibition, 2004 Asian Tsunami: Ten years on, today in commemoration of the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Minister for Manpower Mr Tan Chuan­ Jin was the guest-of-honour at the event.

A collaborative effort by SRC and three photojournalists, Hoe Pei Shan, Irvin Tan and Carlo Heathcote, the public exhibition features tsunami survivors in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives and their inspirational stories.

In the aftermath of the tsunami, SRC provided emergency relief assistance and deployed medical teams to Aceh and Sri Lanka. The Singapore Government and the People of Singapore contributed close to $89 million for the Tidal Waves Asia Fund, the largest donation received in the history of SRC.

Recounting his stint as the Commander of the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) Humanitarian Assistance Task Force in Meulaboh, Indonesia, Minister Tan said, "Back then, the western coast of Aceh was ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami and was largely inaccessible in the aftermath of the disaster. Meulaboh was the worst hit and our thanniversary of the Great Indian SAF Humanitarian Assistance Support Group focused our efforts there. Our task was to provide emergency relief for the people of Aceh and to help stabilise the situation.

"Recently, a decade after the disaster, I visited Aceh and saw the progress made there. I visited several memorials, one of which was a boat which ran ashore and another was a ship that landed on top of two residential houses. When I spoke to some of the locals, I was struck by the resilience of those who lost their family members in the tragedy; their ability to transform their initial pain and despair to strength, hope and courage in times of adversity," he added.

The SRC, in collaboration with the Singapore Government, other Singapore NGOs, various religious institutions and clan associations successfully implemented 69 projects covering healthcare, education, housing and community, economic recovery and livelihood in Indonesia, Maldives and Sri Lanka, in an effort the SRC Chairman Mr Tee Tua Ba, considers "a truly 'Team Singapore' undertaking."

Mr Tee said: "This photo exhibition serves as a stark reminder to us all not to take what we have for granted; our family, our loved ones, our home and even our livelihoods. It also reminds us of the tremendous potential of humanity ­ coming together from across the globe in solidarity with the devastated communities, bringing new hope and rebuilding and reigniting shattered dreams."

2004 Asian Tsunami: Ten years on is open to the public till Dec 30, 10am to 9pm daily, at the National Library ­ Level 8 Promenade. Admission is free.

stephluo@sph.com.sg

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