2004 tsunami: Children in mud, lone mosque in Aceh

AP News
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Posted: Dec 25, 2014 9:07 AM
2004 tsunami: Children in mud, lone mosque in Aceh

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

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Eugene Hoshiko, a photographer based in Tokyo, covered the disaster in Banda Aceh, Indonesia:

There are three photos I remember most — I recall even the smell of the air when I see them.

The first site before the plane landed was the image of a mosque still standing in the devastated area. My first impression was, 'This is unreal.' How do you explain it?

After a few weeks, schools in Banda Aceh reopened even as evacuees were taking shelter in the buildings. In classrooms, evacuees were waiting outside so that the students could finish their lessons. Only a thin wall divided children learning new things and others thinking how to survive.

In the third photo, for me the most memorable moment in Banda Aceh, I saw a chopper hovering over a place not far from my position. I asked my motorcycle driver to take me there.

In the distance, I saw a bunch of kids stuck in the mud in a rice paddy, waiting for a chopper to drop aid.

The children were covered in mud, but they did not care. They were so desperate that their only concern was getting food from that chopper.