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December 29, 2009

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)

In this file photo from December 26th, 2004, foreign tourists who had ventured far out on the sand after the water receded react as the first of six tsunamis starts to roll towards Hat Rai Lay Beach, near Krabi in southern Thailand. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images) #

Tidal waves wash through houses at Maddampegama, about 60 km (38 mi) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka, in this Dec. 26, 2004 file photo. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe) #

This pair of photos shows (before) a view of the damage near Baiturrahman mosque on December 27, 2004, the day after a tsunami hit the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh, and (after) an Acehnese man collecting grass for his goat in the same area, December 4, 2009.   [click image to see it fade]   (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #

These two photos show rescue workers removing a body of a tsunami victim from the compound of the Grand Mosque in Banda Aceh, December 29, 2004 (before) and an Acehnese worker sweeping the grass in the same area (after) on December 3, 2009.   [click image to see it fade]   (REUTERS/Darren Whiteside/Beawiharta) #

(Before) an Acehnese man walks past a ship washed ashore by the tsunami in Banda Aceh on December 28, 2004, and (after) an Acehnese worker sweeping the street in front of the Hotel Medan in the same area, December 5, 2009.   [click image to see it fade]   (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #

This pair of photos shows (before) Acehnese women searching for their missing relatives among dozens of bodies of tsunami victims in Banda Aceh in Indonesia's Aceh province on December 28, 2004, and (after) a child riding his bicycle in front of the morgue in the same area on December 6, 2009.   [click image to see it fade]   (REUTERS/Handout/Beawiharta) #

During the tsunami, this boat, swept onto the rooftops of people homes, became a safe refuge for 59 people as the sea rose dangerously high. The boat has now become a permanent tsunami memorial. The original image was taken on January 4, 2005.   [click image to see it fade]   (Dimas Ardian (before) and Ulet Ifansasti (after)/Getty Images) #

In this set of images, a before (December 29, 2004) and after (December 23, 2009) contrast of the Grand Mosque is seen on the fifth anniversary of the 2004 Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.   [click image to see it fade]   (Dimas Ardian (before) and Ulet Ifansasti (after)/Getty Images) #

(Before) bodies of tsunami victims float in the water near the city port of Banda Aceh on December 29, 2004, and (after) a view of the same area, debris and bodies cleared, damaged buildings repaired, on December 3, 2009.   [click image to see it fade]   (REUTERS/Darren Whiteside/Beawiharta) #

Buddhists pray and release offerings into the ocean during a ceremony commemorating the 5th year since Indian Ocean tsunami on Ulhee Lheu beach in Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Heri Juanda) #

In this photo taken on Dec. 6, 2009, children perform a traditional dance at an orphanage in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province. Of the total 230,000 people killed by the tsunami, more than half died in Aceh on the island of Sumatra, leaving at least 5,200 orphans by official count, but probably many more. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim) #

Reflections of laborers working at a construction site near Baiturrahman mosque on the fifth anniversary of the 2004 Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami, on December 25, 2009 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

Laborers work at a construction site near Baiturrahman mosque on the fifth anniversary of the 2004 Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami, on December 25, 2009 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

A Thai official makes the final checks on the country's first tsunami warning buoy at the Cape Panwa in Phuket island, southern Thailand on December 1, 2009. Five years on from the tsunami that battered Asia's shores, experts fear a new generation of coastal dwellers will be ill-prepared to face another giant wave as memories fade. (PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images) #

Buddhist monks pray for tsunami victims during the anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami in Thailand's Phang Nga province, about 110 km (68 mi) north of the resort island of Phuket on December 26, 2009. Thousands of saffron-robed Thai monks chanted and prayed for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami on Saturday. (REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom) #

Dutch tourist Hans Cuiper takes a photograph of pictures of foreign tourists killed in the 2004 tsunami at the Bang Muang Cemetery in Thailand's Phang Nga province, north of Phuket, on December 26, 2009. (REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom) #

Two young boys look at parts of the city previously devastated by the 2004 Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami on December 23, 2009 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

The minaret of the Baiturrahman mosque is seen in Banda Aceh December 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #

Tsunami survivor Abhilash Jeyaraj, also known as "Baby 81", sits on a chair as he waits for a ride to school in his family's home in Kurukkalmadam in Batticaloa district November 23, 2009. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami brought international fame to Baby 81, but the parents of the two-month-old who miraculously survived the deadly wave say it has only brought misfortune and unwanted attention. Found in the debris left by the wave that wrecked huge areas of Sri Lanka's coast, Jeyaraj became a phenomenon after international media erroneously reported nine sets of parents had come forward to claim him. (REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds) #

In this photo taken December 2, 2009 tsunami survivors Irvan Sahputra (left), Syamsuddin Mohammed (center) and Aris Monandar (right) stand near a fishing boat that saved their lives when it was stranded on a roof of a neighbor's house in Banda Aceh nearly five years ago. (ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images) #

Acehnese men read the Quran at a mass grave site during commemorations on the fifth anniversary of the 2004 Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami, on December 26, 2009 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

A Red Cross volunteer sits amongst open umbrellas printed with portraits of smiling children representing children orphaned in the Indian Ocean tsunami, during its fifth anniversary at the Tsunami museum in Banda Aceh December 26, 2009. (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #

Indonesian tsunami survivors Ikra Alfil (right) and a classmate are photographed in front of their school room in Lampuuk village in Banda Aceh on December 3, 2009. Five years after the disaster, 10 year old Ikra continues to dream of giant waves - after the tsunami killed four family members, except her father who had climbed up a tree. (ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images) #

People launch floating paper lanterns into the sky over the Andaman Sea in remembrance of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami victims, in Khao Lak, in Thailand's Phang Nga province, about 110 km (68 miles) north of the resort island of Phuket, on December 26, 2009. (REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom) #




 
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