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Jean Ray

Ten Years Since the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

On this day, ten years ago, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake struck beneath the Indian Ocean near Indonesia, generating a massive tsunami that claimed more than 230,000 lives in fourteen different countries, one of the deadliest natural disasters ever recorded. Today, many of the communities have recovered, though painful memories and some ruined structures remain in place. Across Asia today, memorials were held in remembrance of the thousands of victims. Amid the commemorations, continued warnings from earthquake experts that early-warning systems need even more development and funding in the region. Gathered here are images of the 2004 event, a series of then-and-now comparison images, and photos from today's memorials.

 

Seawater splashes in the air as the the first tsunami waves hit Ao Nang, Krabi Province, Thailand, on December 26, 2004.

Foreign tourists far out on the sand after the water receded react as the first of six tsunami waves started to roll towards Hat Rai Lay Beach, near Krabi in southern Thailand, on December 26, 2004.

People flee as a tsunami wave comes crashing ashore at Koh Raya, part of Thailand's territory in the Andaman islands, 23 kilometers from Phuket island, southern Thailand, on December 26, 2004. The photographer who took this picture escaped without injury, but retreated at the first wave and watched as a second wave tore apart the wooden buildings, with a third and largest wave coming forward and "ripping apart the cement buildings like they were made of balsa wood".

Waves wash through houses at Maddampegama, about 60 kilometers (38 miles) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on December 26, 2004. Tsunami waves triggered by earthquakes crashed into villages along a wide stretch of Sri Lankan coast, killing more than 35,300 people and displacing millions.

In this photo taken by a tourist Eric Skitzi from England, tourists watch as tsunami waves hit the shore from inside the Casuarina Beach Hotel resort in Penang, northwestern Malaysia around 1:00pm local time (0500GMT) on December 26, 2004. The resort hotel lifeguards noticed waves were huge and sounded warning to all tourists around the hotel beach area to run to the safety area.

Waves crash through houses at Maddampegama, Sri Lanka, on December 26, 2004.

A natural color satellite image shows the coastline of the southwestern city of Kalutara, Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004 at 10:20 a.m. local time, slightly less than four hours after the 6:28 a.m. (local Sri Lanka time) earthquake and shortly after the moment of tsunami impact.

An aerial view of a destroyed and flooded village after waves hit following an earthquake near the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia, on December 28, 2004.

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