4 Jan 2005

Marshall Islands begins week of mourning for tsunami victims

9:34 am on 4 January 2005

The Marshall Islands has began a week of national mourning for the victims of the Boxing Day tsunamis.

The Marshall Islands parliament interrupted its official opening ceremony on Monday for a moment of silence for the tens of thousands of people who died from the giant waves that hit coastlines in countries around the Indian Ocean.

Flags were lowered following the mourning declaration by President Kessai Note, and will remain at half-mast until next Monday.

The death toll from the tsunami is already nearly three times the 58,000 population of the Marshall Islands.

An independent group comprised of business, government and women leaders in Majuro, the Marshall's capital, have launched a fundraising drive to help with recovery efforts in Asia.