People across southern Asia have paused to remember the powerful Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that occurred one month ago today (Wednesday).

Thousands of Sri Lankans observed a minute of silence, and the Tamil Tiger rebels declared a day of mourning.

In Indonesia's hard-hit Banda Aceh province, teachers and students opened their first day of classes since the tragedy with prayers for missing friends.

A senior USAID official tells VOA that aid workers continue to focus on survivors' emergency needs, but says there are signs that relief efforts have begun moving into a rehabilitation phase.

The Oxfam international charity says the response to the disaster has been so overwhelming that some aid groups are conducting relief work without the necessary experience or skills.