2004 Tsunami victims remembered in Chennai on 15th anniversary

In 2004, a massive tsunami swept over vulnerable coastal areas of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and nine other countries. Ever since survivors across the region hold ceremonies to mourn for those who lost their lives and pray for something like it to never happen again.

Here is a glimpse at how commemorations were held this year in Chennai.

Prayers across the seas

People pray during a prayer ceremony for the victims of the 2004 tsunami on the 15th anniversary of the disaster, at Marina beach in Chennai, India, December 26, 2019.

Communities across Asia commemorated the more than 230,000 victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami, one of the world's most deadly disasters. Prayers were held to pay respects to those who lost their lives, both young and old.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Waves the height of buildings

A girl prays during a prayer ceremony for the victims of the 2004 tsunami. On the morning after Christmas Day in 2004, a 9.1 magnitude quake off northern Sumatra island in Indonesia triggered a tsunami with waves as high as 17.4 meters (57 feet).

(Photograph:Reuters)

Flattened to the surface

Women scatter flower petals in the waters of the Bay of Bengal during a prayer ceremony for the victims of the 2004 tsunami.

Memorials were scheduled in the Indonesian province of Aceh, where entire villages were flattened and more than 125,000 people perished in the giant waves. Since then, the area has been largely rebuilt, with some 25,600 residential, commercial, government and school buildings constructed inside a high-risk zone, that had suffered virtually total devastation in 2004.

(Photograph:Reuters)

The Impossible

Women pour milk into the waters of the Bay of Bengal during a prayer ceremony for the victims of the 2004 tsunami..

In Thailand, where more than 5,300 people were killed, including tourists visiting resort islands in the Andaman Sea, government officials held a memorial ceremony and called for more awareness and preparedness for disasters.

The movie 'The Impossible' which released in 2012 was based on true stories of one such tourist family who were visiting Thailand at the time of the disaster. 

(Photograph:Reuters)

Pan-Asiatic tragedy

Women hold plates with flower petals before scattering them in the waters of the Bay of Bengal during a prayer ceremony for the victims of the 2004 tsunami.

More than 10,000 people died in the tsunami in India. More than 35,000 people died in Sri Lanka. 

(Photograph:Reuters)

Loss of life

Women pray during a prayer ceremony for the victims of the 2004 tsunami.

Thousands of families and lives were left scarred at the end of the tsunami. An estimated $15 billion was lost.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Petals of despair

Women scatter flower petals in the waters of the Bay of Bengal during a prayer ceremony for the victims of the 2004 tsunami on the 15th anniversary of the disaster, at Marina beach in Chennai, India.

 

(Photograph:Reuters)

Families torn apart

Women gather during a prayer ceremony for the victims of the 2004 tsunami.

The waves did not only flatten buildings and structures, but also tore loved ones apart from one another.

(Photograph:Reuters)