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December 29, 2009 Permalink

Five years since the Tsunami

Five years ago, on Boxing Day, December 26th, 2004, a magnitude 9.3 earthquake hit the seafloor of the Indian Ocean, causing tremendous waves of seawater to rush ashore as devastating tsunamis that left 230,000 people dead across 13 different countries - the fifth deadliest natural disaster in recorded history. Over 45,000 of the dead were never found. Five years later now, reconstruction moves apace, as multiple aid groups have built more than 140,000 homes, 1,700 schools, 3,800 houses of worship and 3,700 km of roads. On this anniversary of the catastrophe, we have collected here photographs of survivors, some rebuilding, some remembering, and seven sets of "before and after" photos (numbers 4-10, be sure to click them to see the transition effect). I'd also like to direct your attention to a fantastic multimedia presentation on this subject from Thomson/Reuters called Surviving the Tsunami. (25 photos total)

An Acehnese man cries as he attends a mass prayer for tsunami victims, commemorating the fifth anniversary of the 2004 Boxing Day earthquake and subsequent tsunami, on December 26, 2009 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Aceh was the worst hit location, being the closest major city to the epicentre of the 9.1 magnitude quake, suffering a huge hit from the following tsunami and resulting in around 130,000 deaths. Throughout the affected region of eleven countries, 230,000 people in total were killed, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
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54 comments so far...
1.

impressive as allways!

Posted by tomat3 December 29, 09 11:38 AM
2.

Great before / after photos. Anything can be overcome.

Posted by yemoot December 29, 09 11:43 AM
3.

Bless them.

Posted by Manteca December 29, 09 11:46 AM
4.

Terrible disaster but really stunning pics as always.
N° 13 is simply amazing. Thanx.

Posted by Alberto December 29, 09 11:47 AM
5.

#2 - Unless you're one of the dead.

Posted by RJ December 29, 09 11:54 AM
6.

#5 and #6 : Awesome what a man can do with one broomstick.

Posted by Drakar December 29, 09 12:16 PM
7.

the woman in #2 who running toward the wave trying to save her family is a swedish and she is still alive!

Posted by ismail December 29, 09 12:21 PM
8.

Great pictures - but please remember that it wasn't only Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand that were affected. It would have been good to see pictures from India, Maldives and the east African coast as well...

Posted by Alila December 29, 09 01:09 PM
9.

Wow... #25 is amazing.

Posted by Kevin December 29, 09 01:37 PM
10.

Olha... fotos forte, apesar de serem fotos desse tipo, estão boas... parabéns...

Posted by DoiiDo December 29, 09 01:50 PM
11.

The power of nature is beyond comprehension. Thank you for guiding us back in time. Living on an island, these pics are good reminders to move quickly in the opposite direction when tides unexpectedly/rapidly recede.

Posted by Joseph December 29, 09 02:01 PM
12.

Stunning set!

Posted by Patrick December 29, 09 02:08 PM
13.

#25 is AWESOME! It would be so neat seeing that from across "the bay" if there were one. I think I want to make one of these.

Posted by Brooks Hargreaves December 29, 09 02:12 PM
14.

I'd never seen #2 before. Thank you for publishing it here. And thank you for reminding us of the tsunami. It quiets the mind to contemplate these images.

Posted by Bruce December 29, 09 03:14 PM
15.

#6 also the time as a broomstick..

Posted by barbara ilario December 29, 09 03:46 PM
16.

Excellent use of the before and after photos. For those interested, Reuters photographer Beawiharta recalls his experience here http://blogs.reuters.com/photo/2009/12/22/reliving-the-tsunami/
Haunting photographs and a heartfelt story.

Posted by Corinne Perkins December 29, 09 05:07 PM
17.

The power of nature is beyond comprehension. Thank you for guiding us back in time. Living on an island, these pics are good reminders to move quickly in the opposite direction when tides unexpectedly/rapidly recede.

Posted by Joseph December 29, 09 05:35 PM
18.

Such a tragic event, but ultimately it will become a triumph of the human spirit

Posted by Ralph Jones December 29, 09 05:47 PM
19.
Posted by chem istj December 29, 09 07:25 PM
20.

I hope the lanterns in 25 float out over the water and not back inland. They look really cool but they are floating fireballs and a disaster waiting to happen.

Posted by discombooberate December 29, 09 08:03 PM
21.

Brings back memories. I was there 4 weeks after the tsunami.
I remember of the smell of death.

Posted by David December 29, 09 08:10 PM
22.

great photo....

Posted by Anonymous December 29, 09 09:40 PM
23.

when i saw its videos in the newspaper,how the waves come slowly first,then it becomes so big that houses and cars came crashing down,the waves were so powerful,men stood powerless before it,we all tend to forget about their lives so easily,but it is them who have to bear the brunt of the tragedy and go on with their lives.
it is worth noting that in Indonesia,everything was destroyed except a Masjid. the death toll in Indonesia were over 80,000—more than half the global total,the town of Lhoknga, on the west coast of Sumatra near the capital of Aceh, Banda Aceh, was completely destroyed by the tsunami, with the exception of the mosque in the city’s center,almost all the trees, vegetation, and buildings in the area were washed away.
God says in Quran"Lit and raised are the Houses of God,wherein He is glorified day and night,men whom neither traffic nor trade can divert from the Remembrance of his Lord and performance of his prayers,they fear a day when the eyes and hearts will be transformed in a world anew"
when i came across the video of that Masjid standing alone in that desolate place,all i could think of was how even the powerful waves move by God's command and i fear Him even more.everything moves by His command and only we are obstinate.

Posted by God will last December 29, 09 10:31 PM
24.

not even a single photo from India side of Tsunami survivors/sufferings...

Posted by gm December 29, 09 10:34 PM
25.

may their souls rest in peace

Posted by Harshit December 29, 09 11:14 PM
26.

I was in Aceh, a month after the tsunami.. on rescue work.

Posted by azharjaafar313.blogspot.com December 30, 09 12:10 AM
27.

great picture!!

Posted by one December 30, 09 12:16 AM
28.

impressive as always..!

Posted by mode December 30, 09 03:29 AM
29.

Thank you for these photos especially picture #1 which really broke my heart. It pretty much summed up all the sadness this tsunami caused in several countries.

Posted by Ali S. December 30, 09 04:47 AM
30.

one of the most powerful stets to date!

nice!

Posted by tim December 30, 09 09:17 AM
31.

I will always remember the last day at the office before the Christmas holidays, when my then co-worker stopped by with her 8 ys old son, whose school holidays had already begun. "Where is Banda Ace?" we'd ask, and they'd show us on the map. Our whole office wished them a happy trip and "fun in the sun", so very far away from icy Germany. "See you next year!" we waved after a warm and funny afternoon, after we'd had tea and cookies together. When I heard the news about the Tsunami and saw the pictures from that place I hadn't even heard about until a few days before, I broke down and cried. Mother and son were missing and indeed found dead weeks later. We weren't even that close as co-workers, but not a Christmas goes by without me thinking about them and sending a prayer for all who passed that day and for all who immedieately went there to help.

Posted by K December 30, 09 09:54 AM
32.

#15 - Nice of the American people to pick up the cost.

Posted by Bob December 30, 09 01:51 PM
33.

Bob (comment # 35), actually, it's a number of countries that provide the region with a tsunami warning system.

Posted by Norbert December 30, 09 05:00 PM
34.

"Bob (comment # 32), actually, it's a number of countries that provide the region with a tsunami warning system." - Norbert

Yes, but the US is picking up the tabs for the Buoys themselves; many years of Cold War experience building near indestructible, isolated equipment.

As an American, I don't have a problem with picking up the tab. We all benefit from advanced warning - as those very same buoys may give advanced notice for Hawaii, etc.

Posted by DN December 30, 09 08:03 PM
35.

Is the last picture the cover of the Lonely Planet of Thailand the newest edition?

Posted by Quan December 31, 09 02:16 AM
36.

Thanks for reminding us about this disaster, how the years have flown by. Thanks, as always for your excellent pictures. Truly amazing and thank you.

Posted by nellie December 31, 09 01:59 PM
37.

Amazing set of pictures. The before/after pictures are impressive.

Posted by Ed December 31, 09 08:12 PM
38.

wonderful and powerful photos. Sad that world is targeted by these deadly disasters

Posted by balaji January 1, 10 04:35 AM
39.

great great emotions......

Posted by elisabetta January 1, 10 04:26 PM
40.

god bless them all Just thank god he kept us good and strong. I live near the Ocean and I thing about this every time I see the ocean waves BIG. What if it was me my house my children my famliy.. Oh god bless them all.

Posted by Anonymous January 6, 10 02:47 AM
41.

YA ALLAH! ....PLZ BLESS THE PERSONS WHO R I ALIVE, GIVE THEM THE POWER TO FIGHT WITH THIS WORLD ... ALLAH MAIN DUWA KAR TA WU HAR EK KE LIYE JO INTEKAL HO CHUKE HAI AUR JO ZINDA HAI.. YA ALLAH AAP PHIR KABHIE AISA MANZAR NA DIKHE PLZ JISME BACCHE ANAT HO JAYE AUR LOG LOG EK DUSRE SE BICHAR NA JAYE..

Posted by SADDAM HUSSAIN January 11, 10 09:02 AM
42.

It's terrible...

Posted by ab January 19, 10 10:15 AM
43.

The people is working hard for their lives but this pictures is awesome

Posted by Yuljohn T. Berina II January 24, 10 02:07 AM
44.

It was like my most horrifying dream of my childhood came true. I used to see the people staring in shock at the gigantic wave just in front of them in my dream.I hope the photographer would have survived.Some look impossible and some are heart-breaking.

Posted by aruneendra January 27, 10 07:38 AM
45.

These are truly heart-wrenching. I remember watching the news and...it was like something from a disaster film. Oh God, I hope there won't be anything this disastrous ever again.

Posted by Raka January 29, 10 06:49 AM
46.

these pictures really show the true devistation and how strong the fource of nature is

Posted by ally January 31, 10 03:44 PM
47.

Amazing photographs! Thanks to Boston.com for giving us the most memorable photos of the saddest event on the earth.

Posted by C.Abdul Hameed,TamilNadu, India April 12, 10 10:08 AM
48.

May their souls rest in peace

Posted by gerald April 13, 10 01:02 PM
49.

Tsunami from way back remember the place of 100's of miles to see and... 1000's of miles that people can be united threw thoughts of sorrow.

Posted by Eleanor September 20, 10 01:35 PM
50.

My mom and dad and my brothers and sisters all died in the 2004 Tsunami

Posted by NEW MADRID EARTHQUAKE!!!!!! January 12, 11 11:50 PM
51.

The New Madrid Fault line will blowe 9.9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by FEMA March 21, 11 09:48 PM
52.

God Bless

Posted by Anonymous March 28, 11 05:32 PM
53.

The 2004 Tsunami was just a warning for the New Madrid Earthquake!!!!!!!!!! please move from the Middwest 10.3 Quake!!!!!!!!!

Posted by USGS April 3, 11 11:13 PM
54.

Someone help me the New Madrid fault have an 9.7 Earthquake at 2'15AM good by

Posted by Larry April 17, 11 12:47 AM
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