An earthquake measuring 9.0 on the open-ended Richter scale and ensuing tidal waves killed tens of thousands of people in more than eight countries throughout Asia on Dec. 26 last year.
As the scope of the disaster became clear, the international community mounted an unprecedented rescue and relief effort.
Indonesia's Banda Aceh was devastated by the seaquake, and entire villages and towns were wiped off the face of the earth. Authorities estimated that as many as 100,000 people may have died in Indonesia alone.
The survivors, many of whom lost their homes and all of their possessions in the tragedy, struggled to locate loved ones and clear the thousands of corpses which were strewn along beaches and had been left kilometers inland by the flooding.
Sri Lanka, although untouched by the earthquake that occurred more than 1,700km away, was inundated by a deluge from the attendant tsunamis. More than 28,000 people perished.
Many of Thailand's southern resort areas, which had been packed with tourists during the busy holiday season, were destroyed by the waves. As there was no warning of the impending doom, many of the region's beaches were thronging with holiday-goers, many of them foreign tourists.
As of yesterday, the confirmed death tolls in countries directly affected by the disaster were as follows: Indonesia: 80,246; Sri Lanka: 28,551; India: 7,763; Thailand: 4,812; Somalia: 200; Myanmar: 90; Maldives: 73; Malaysia: 66; Tanzania: 10; Bangladesh: 2; Kenya: 1. These figures do not include the hundreds of foreign visitors in the various countries who also perished in the tragedy.