On the fourth anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami, ceremonies have been held in memory of the 230,000 people who lost their lives. Half of the more than 5,000 victims in Thailand were foreigners. Some tourists who survived still choose to return. “The first year we were back, it was a bit difficult because you look at the sea and you think, will it be calm? But now, every year we come back, and we feel pretty safe,” said Dutch survivor Paulette Vandenwyngaard.
From worst-hit Indonesia to India, prayers and vigils have gone up. Four years on, Oxfam says it is ending its relief response to the tsunami – the largest emergency programme in the international charity’s history. December 26, 2004 will forever be remembered as the day when killer waves triggered by an underwater earthquake caused untold death and devastation in what was one of the world’s worst ever natural disasters.