Prayer ceremonies were held at home and abroad to observe the anniversary of Cyclone Giri that slammed into the coast of western Burma's Arakan State on the 22nd of October 2010.
U Aung Marm Oo, the director of the Arakan Human Rights Organization, said a prayer ceremony was held in a Buddhist monastery in Maepa Village in Thailand’s Mae Sot in order to make people more aware if what had happened during Cyclone Giri.
“We hold this ceremony especially to draw attention from the ethnic Burmese community as well as from the international community, and to make them aware of what really happened during that cyclone in Arakan State”, said Aung Marm Oo.
Attendees at the ceremony lit candles and prayed silently for a while according to their various religious faiths, for those who were killed and affected by the cyclone, and then speeches were given.
U Khine Oo Maung, the director of a migrant school on the Thai-Burmese border, said the natural calamity came as a result of damaging the natural environment, in his speech at the ceremony.
“Natural disasters were very rare in our childhood in Arakan State, but they are now quite frequently occurring because the natural environment that was a natural shield to such disasters has been badly damaged due to the greedy exploitation of natural resources by the Burmese military dictators in our region”, said Khine Oo Maung.
U Shwe Nhin, a Karen freedom fighter and headmaster of the migrant school, also spoke in the ceremony and said that he prays every Sunday and would continue his prayers, hoping that all people in Burma will be free from natural disasters and oppressed lives, and for peace and development in the country.
Videos and slideshows of photos from the Giri affected areas were presented in the ceremony in Mae Sot and over 120 people, including representatives of the Arakanese and other ethnic organizations, individuals and migrant workers attended in the ceremony.
Cyclone Giri hit hardest on the townships of Kyaukpru, Mraybon, Pauktaw and Ann in Arakan State on 22 October 2011, leaving nearly 100 people killed, 70,975 peoples homeless and over 2, 60,000 affected.