Tsunami: Remembering pain of father who lost all

AP News
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Posted: Dec 23, 2014 10:44 PM
Tsunami: Remembering pain of father who lost all

About 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 eighth of their stories, which are being published daily through Dec. 26.

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Muhammad Farooq, a camera operator based in Karachi, Pakistan, reported on the tsunami from Hambantota, Sri Lanka:

I did a story about a man called Hassan, about 30 years old.

The tsunami washed away virtually his entire neighborhood. All wood-made houses were destroyed. Hassan had lost 25 family members and relatives in the area, including his wife, who was nine months pregnant when she drowned.

Hassan might have died as well, but he was not at home when the tsunami hit. He had gone to Colombo to purchase some clothes for his new baby.

The giant wave hit a day before the baby's due date.

I saw Hassan, upset and gloomy, sitting on the remains of his destroyed home. He was holding the baby clothes.

I cannot forget the pain reflecting from his eyes and face.