Today marks the National Unity Day of Maldives. The day is marked in remembrance of the spirit of national unity and solidarity shown by the people in the immediate aftermath of the devastating 2004 tsunami.
12 years ago, on December 26, massive tsunami waves hit countries in South-East Asia Region causing death, destruction and devastation of unprecedented scale. The Maldives, being a low lying island nation, experienced the full brunt of the tsunami, which destroyed islands, infrastructure and livelihoods.
The catastrophe that shocked the nation and brought it down to its knees claimed 82 lives and left 26 people lost and unaccounted for. Over 15,000 people lost their homes.
Homes and whole communities were destroyed forcing people from 13 islands to be temporarily moved to other locations. Many of the people who were made homeless in the disaster were forced to live in temporary shelters for over a decade.
Maldivians came together in a show of unity and harmony to prove togetherness is key to surviving such a tragic situation. The people proved to the world that amidst such tragedy, they will stand united to assist one another.
Due to the exemplary unity shown on December 26, 2004, by Maldivians, the day is being annually marked as the National Unity Day.