Across Sri Lanka, people are observing the first anniversary of the deadly Indian Ocean tsunami with prayers and special services to remember the more than 30,000 people who died there and tens of thousands lost their homes.

People fell silent and all activity stopped at Galle's main bus terminal as a clock counted down the last seconds before nine-26 ayem - the precise moment the tsunami struck one year ago.

G.A. Sunil remembers the chaos when waves struck the bus station, as some climbed on busses to escape, and others - like him - to the roof of the restaurant where he worked. He says he was frightened and there was not much he could do to help. But he and some friends pulled 18 women to safety.

Mr. Sunil and other restaurant staff also lit candles in remembrance of those killed.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse attended a memorial, and pledged to do more to ensure that all tsunami affected areas get rebuilt.