Remembering tsunami: Bodies, debris and silence

AP News
Posted: Dec 22, 2014 12:13 AM
Remembering tsunami: Bodies, debris and silence

Some 230,000 people were killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami set off by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004. A dozen countries were hit, from Indonesia to India to Africa's east coast. Scores of Associated Press journalists covered the disaster, and as the 10th anniversary approached, the AP asked 10 of them to describe the images that have stuck with them the most. This is the sixth of their stories, which are being published daily through Dec. 26.


Photographer Richard Vogel covered the disaster from Phuket, Thailand:

I arrived in Thailand on the second morning after the tsunami and went to the French Embassy, where children were showing up from Phuket with no clothes, no shoes or anything, just in underwear. Expats had gathered there to bring them something to wear.

The following day I arrived in Phuket and made my way before sunrise to Khao Lak beach, a resort area.

I couldn't imagine what had happened. It looked like the beach had been carpet-bombed. Stuff was strewn all over the beach: luggage, clothes and the sheer destruction of buildings. A few still stood but were just shells of themselves.

As I walked around taking pictures, I would find body parts, pieces of clothes and luggage in trees — and silence. The silence is something I'll never forget.