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    Acehnese youths try to pull a man to higher ground through a flooded street a moment after tsunami strike in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia

    Asia Commemorates 10th Anniversary of Deadly Tsunami

    © AP Photo / Bedu Saini, Serambi Indonesia, File
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    People are gathering all across Asia to organize memorials and take part in moments of silence to mark 10th anniversary of the 2004 natural disaster. Journalists who covered the tragedy were asked to share their memories.

    MOSCOW, December 26 (Sputnik) — As the 10th anniversary of the notorious 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami approaches, people crowded streets of Asia’ cities to commemorate victims of the natural disaster that occurred the day after Christmas, AP reports.

    The news agency asked journalists who covered the disaster and witnessed the overall devastation to share their memories and impressions of the catastrophe.

    Tassanee Vejpongsa, a video journalist from Taiwan, flew to Thailand to report the day after the tsunami devastated beach resorts of Phuket, a popular destination for tourists from all over the world.

    “I stared out the window at the vast stretch of beach. This normally dreamy beach of white sand and saggy coconut trees was lined with colored debris and wreckage as far as my eyes could see. Such a colorful mess, I thought”, Vejpongsa said. Only later, when she approached further, did she realized that “the mess” was “bodies of tourists, wrapped in the festive colors anyone might wear to a beach holiday”.

    • Tsunami survivors collect leftovers from the ruins of collapsed houses in Pamadura, South of Colombo, Sri Lanka
      Tsunami survivors collect leftovers from the ruins of collapsed houses in Pamadura, South of Colombo, Sri Lanka
      © AP Photo / Vincent Thian
    • A Sri Lankan woman weeps as she sits on the only remaining part of her son's home which was destroyed and her son was killed in Sunday's tsunami
      A Sri Lankan woman weeps as she sits on the only remaining part of her son's home which was destroyed and her son was killed in Sunday's tsunami
      © AP Photo / Ed Wray
    • Group of Buddhist monks and villagers search for the missing along railroad tracks at Telwatta, about 100 kilometers (63 miles) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka
      Group of Buddhist monks and villagers search for the missing along railroad tracks at Telwatta, about 100 kilometers (63 miles) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka
      © AP Photo / Eranga Jayawardena
    • An aerial shot taken from a helicopter shows villagers search for the missing along railroad tracks at Telwatte, about 100 kilometers (63 miles) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka
      An aerial shot taken from a helicopter shows villagers search for the missing along railroad tracks at Telwatte, about 100 kilometers (63 miles) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka
      © East News / VINCENT THIAN
    • A view of the main bus stand that was destroyed by tidal waves at Galle, Sri Lanka
      A view of the main bus stand that was destroyed by tidal waves at Galle, Sri Lanka
      © AP Photo / Eranga Jayawardena, File
    • A Buddhist monk looks at a wrecked carriage after an entire train was destroyed by Sunday's tsunami in the town of Paraliya, 90 km (56 miles) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka
      A Buddhist monk looks at a wrecked carriage after an entire train was destroyed by Sunday's tsunami in the town of Paraliya, 90 km (56 miles) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka
      © REUTERS / Kieran Doherty/Files
    • Tidal waves wash through houses at Maddampegama, about 60 kilometers (38 miles) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka
      Tidal waves wash through houses at Maddampegama, about 60 kilometers (38 miles) south of Colombo, Sri Lanka
      © AP Photo / Gemunu Amarasinghe, File
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    © AP Photo / Vincent Thian
    Tsunami survivors collect leftovers from the ruins of collapsed houses in Pamadura, South of Colombo, Sri Lanka

    The level of devastation also shocked Wally Santana, after he arrived in the tsunami-hit Sri-Lanka. He saw that people had nothing to eat, children were crying from starvation and felt terrible that he had nothing to offer them.

    “There was no food. Everyone was starving. We came with nothing to offer,” Santana said. “I saw a boy holding his father’s hand as he tearfully bit into a piece of bread, his first food in who knows how long”.

    Dita Alangkara, a photographer based in Jakarta, Indonesia, was horrified when she took a small plane up to view the wreckage along the coast.

    “Almost no buildings were spared from the killer waves. Dead bodies littered the street, stuck on tall trees. Some were eaten by dogs. It was so depressing,” she shared her impressions. “The image that stuck with me most was the mass grave”, she added.

    The disastrous tsunami occurred on December 26, 2004. It hit a dozen countries bordering the Indian Ocean and claimed lives of 230,000 people. It destroyed numerous villages, wiped out whole communities and killed thousands of tourists who came to Asia to spend their Christmas vacation.

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