2004 tsunami: Through the lens of a Thai beach resort

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Ten years ago, on 26 December 2004, the Earth’s crust shifted along a 1,300 km fault off the northern coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The resulting earthquake was the third largest ever recorded. The follow-on tsunami killed about 280,000 people and remains one of the largest humanitarian disasters in recent history.

While the destruction in Thailand was comparatively smaller than in Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka, the wreckage was immense in both physical and human costs. The waves hit some of the most popular beach resorts at about 8am during the tourist peak season. Around 8,000 people were killed, including Thai nationals, migrant workers from Myanmar and foreign tourists.

The photos in this gallery show the devastation around Khao Lak, a high-end resort destination in Thailand before the waves hit and after it was hit. These photos are a reminder of how fragile human developments are in the face of catastrophic, unexpected natural disasters.

This article has been produced by SciDev.Net's South-East Asia & Pacific desk.