Maldives observes minute of silence in remembrance of devastating 2004 tsunami

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu (C) joins in observing a minute of silence to mark the anniversary of the 2004 tsunami on December 26, 2023. (Photo/President's Office)

The employees of all government offices, institutions and companies in the Maldivian capital observed a minute of silence on Tuesday, in remembrance of the devastating 2004 tsunami that killed over 80 Maldivian citizens.

A massive undersea earthquake off the western coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia, unleashed a series of colossal tsunamis on December 26, 2004, that devastated communities along the surrounding coasts of the Indian Ocean, and killed an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries.

The day is marked in the Maldives as the National Day of Solidarity.

The commemorative events began this year with nation-wide communal Fajr prayer on early Tuesday morning.

And at 09:23 am, government employees formed lines outside their office buildings, and observed a minute of silence.

Islamic Ministry staff observe a minute of silence to mark the anniversary of the 2004 tsunami on December 26, 2023. (Photo/Islamic Ministry)

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu, along with members of his cabinet and other top government officials, marked the minute of silence outside the President’s office.

Meanwhile, Minister of Dhivehi Language, Culture and Heritage, Adam Naseer Ibrahim attended a ceremony in suburban Hulhumale’ to mark the National Day of Solidarity.

Addressing the gathering, Naseer spoke about the importance of preserving the Maldivian way of life.

“Let us promote a spirit of preserving the Maldivian way of life. This is a lesson the tsunami taught us. It is not just this land that unites us,” he said.

The 2004 tsunami is in one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

In Maldives, the tsunami wreaked havoc on multiple islands, especially those in outlying low-level atolls.

82 people were killed, and 24 reported missing and presumed dead.

The disaster resulted in an estimated USD 460 million in damages.