ACEH, Indonesia: Thousands of people joined in Indonesia's largest- ever tsunami drill on Tuesday as nations across Asia remembered the moment two years ago when devastating waves crashed into coastlines and killed 230,000 people.

Elsewhere in the region, survivors and mourners visited mass graves, lit candles along beaches, observed two minutes of silence and erected warning towers in hopes of saving lives in the future.

ut as Thai authorities prepared to open a cemetery for unidentified tsunami victims, foreign donors claimed that nearly $1 million intended for DNA sampling and other testing appears to have been misused.

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra Island on Dec. 26, 2004, and spawned monster waves that fanned out across the Indian Ocean at jetliner speeds, killing people in a dozen countries and leaving millions homeless.

On a bright Sunday morning at a mosque in Ulee Lheue, Aceh, the worst- hit Indonesian province, an imam, Usman Dodi, told worshippers the tsunami was a religious warning. "Please forgive the people who have left us for their wrongdoing," Imam Usman prayed, returning to a sermon some religious leaders preached after a disaster that killed 169,000 people in northern Sumatra and left half a million homeless.

Entire villages were swept out to sea in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, luxury resorts and fishing communities submerged in Thailand and thousands of homes destroyed in southern India - where commemorations were small and subdued.

"I cannot forget the events of two years ago, it feels like they happened just yesterday," said an Aceh resident, Zaldi Setiawan.

Like many other Acehnese, he prayed Tuesday at mass graves where tens of thousands of people were buried after the disaster, remembering his two children that were ripped from his hands by the waves. "I can still imagine their faces," he said.

In stark contrast to Aceh, where the disaster led to a landmark peace settlement of a three-decade insurgency, commemorations in rebel-held areas of Sri Lanka were muted.

A resurgence in Sri Lanka's two-decade civil has forced thousands of Tamils, including tsunami survivors, to flee homes and camps for the second time in two years.

"There isn't much to show for by way of reconstruction," said a Western aid official involved in the tsunami relief. "There isn't much to commemorate when you have barely moved an inch.

"The tsunami could have been a turning point in the conflict, if both parties had agreed on an aid-sharing pact. Instead, it has now become another point of division."

Temple bells chimed to mark the exact time the first wave crashed ashore, and all cars and trucks came to a standstill for two minutes. Looking to the future, the first of 100 warning towers was erected on a beach.

The tsunami drill on Indonesia's resort island of Bali - which involved warnings sent from the capital to radios along the beach - was as much about raising awareness as testing technology to mobilize people. Sirens wailed as crowds, many of them schoolchildren, briskly walked inland from the shore, accompanied by Indonesia's minister of research and technology and a handful of foreign tourists.

"The biggest challenge is working with the people to make them aware," said Harald Spahn, a German geologist who is helping Indonesia set up its alert network. "It is a really complex job that many people underestimate."

In Thailand, ceremonies were held along the Andaman coast with Buddhist prayers to remember more than 8,200 killed, many of them foreign vacationers.

The 2004 tsunami generated an unprecedented outpouring of generosity, with donor pledges reaching some $13.6 billion, but many of those made homeless complain they are stuck with poorly built structures that leak, are termite-infested or are located in flood zones.

Corruption has also marred the process, with several nongovernmental organizations forced to delay projects or rebuild homes after contractors and suppliers ran off with the funds.

Thailand faced fresh questions about possible graft on Tuesday. Seven Western nations sent a letter to Thai police saying up to 60 percent of the $1.6 million set aside to help identify the dead appeared to have been misused.

The money may have gone toward travel and other miscellaneous costs, an unnamed U.S. diplomat was quoted as saying in the English-language daily The Nation, calling for an investigation.