India builds tsunami memorial

India is building a tsunami memorial at the southern tip of its mainland, where three seas meet, as a tribute to human courage and resilience following the disaster, an official said Thursday. A 4.88-meter (16-foot) tall sculpture shows a hand stopping an oncoming wave and another holding a flame of hope. It is being erected in the southern town of Kanyakumari, top local administrator Sunil Paliwal said.

"It reflects our courage to face that kind of a disaster and still rebuild our lives," Paliwal told The Associated Press by telephone. The statue will be unveiled on the first anniversary of the disaster on Dec. 26. The tsunami left at least 216,000 dead or missing in 11 countries. In India, 10,749 people were killed and 5,640 are listed as missing but presumed dead. At least 2.7 million people in the South Asian nation were affected by the disaster.

The Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal meet on the shores of Kanyakumari, whose fishing and tourism industries were devastated by the tsunami.

The town is 680 kilometers (425 miles) south of Bangalore, the capital of southern Karnataka state, reports the AP. I.L.

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