From worst-hit Aceh province in Indonesia to the tourist beaches of Thailand and tropical Sri Lanka, thousands of survivors, victims' relatives and officials on Monday held a minute's silence at the time the waves hit, as part of commemoration ceremonies.
On 26 December 2004, a massive magnitude-9 earthquake ruptured the sea floor off Indonesia's Sumatra island, sending 10-metre-high waves roaring across the Indian Ocean at jetliner speeds that crashed into seaside communities in a dozen countries.
The disaster's scale was overwhelming. At least 216,000 people were killed or disappeared in the waves, with the United Nations putting the number dead at 223,000, although it says some countries are still updating their figures.
The true toll will probably never be known - many bodies were lost at sea and in some cases the populations of places struck were not accurately recorded.
Prayers Indonesia: 131,338 dead; 25,016 missing
People prayed at mass graves on Monday for children swept away by the tsunami, walked on beaches battered by the waves and attended prayers at mosques, temples and churches.
Sri Lanka: 31,229 dead; 4093 missing
India: 10,749 dead; 5640 missing
Thailand: 5395 dead; 2817 missing
Somalia: 289 dead and missing
Myanmar: 90 dead; 10 missing
Maldives: 82 dead; 26 missing
Malaysia: 68 dead
Tanzania: 11 dead
Bangladesh: 2 dead
Seychelles: 2 dead
Kenya: 1 dead
Sources: Government agencies, United Nations
Indonesia: 131,338 dead; 25,016 missing
"It is important for me to come here to pray for my family, may they rest in peace," said Darmawati, 39, who lost her husband, two daughters and both her parents in the disaster.
"I pray that God will give me strength to raise my only son that survived," she said, breaking down in tears at a mass prayer in the Acehnese village of Kajhu.
Thousands of homes and livelihoods were destroyed - entire villages and parts of the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh were wiped off the map - and more than 2 million people left as refugees.
The tsunami generated one of the most generous outpourings of foreign aid ever known. Some $13 billion was pledged to relief and recovery efforts, the UN says, of which 75% has already been secured.
But the pace of relief and reconstruction has been criticised, and frustration has grown among some of the 80% of refugees who are still living in tents, plywood barracks or the homes of family and friends.
The tsunami resulted in a ceasefire between the government and guerrillas in Aceh that ended a decades-old separatist conflict.
But hopes of a similar end to Sri Lanka's long-running civil conflict were dashed amid bickering over aid delivery and an upsurge in violence since the disaster.
Source: AljazeeraLast Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16