Stockholm tsunami exhibit to open on anniversary

Swedish and Asian children who survived last year's Indian Ocean tsunami will recount their harrowing ordeals in a new museum exhibit to open in Stockholm on the December 26th anniversary of the disaster.

The exhibit, at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, features a giant screen on which pictures of the children roll by as loudspeakers play recordings of the children’s accounts. Visitors can sit in comfortable armchairs and listen.

“Now we are all going to return to Thailand. I think that will be good, because we’ll see that there is something positive, that it has changed a lot, that they are getting by and so maybe I can also get by,” says Johanna, a 15-year-old Swedish survivor.

Michael, 11, is from India. “I think of my mother when I’m alone, and that’s why I always try to make sure that I’m not alone. I always try to be with other kids so I don’t have all these thoughts,” he says.

Objects found after the sea surge and interviews with aid workers, doctors and environmental experts are also part of the exhibit.

The exhibit will stay in Stockholm for five months before travelling throughout Sweden. While it is small-scale to start — it currently features accounts from two Swedish and seven Asian children — organisers hope it will grow as other survivors come forward to share their own stories and contribute objects to the display.

Primarily targetting children and adolescents, organisers hope to build a bond between children in the Northern Hemisphere and those in the ravaged regions in the South.

The aim is to show that “the feelings of abandonment and sadness are universal,” one of the project leaders, Anders Björklund, told AFP.

Some 220,000 people were killed in the tsunami. Many Swedes were holidaying in the region at the time, and Sweden was the Western country hardest hit, with 543 people dead.