Ten years ago on Friday, one of the deadliest natural disasters in history hit several Indian Ocean nations, killing as many as 230,000 people and causing untold damage. It was the Boxing Day tsunami, which hit the morning of December 26, 2004, after a 9.1 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, in Indonesia. The tenth anniversary of the third biggest earthquake ever recorded by a seismograph is being remembered around the world, and especially in the nations that were hit directly.
The bulk of the devastation was in Indonesia, where the coastline of the northern province of Aceh was utterly devastated. At least 130,000 people died, although a precise count is impossible.
American photographer Stephen J. Boitano, who is based in Bangkok, traveled to Aceh shortly after the tsunami, documenting the destruction. His images show a region completely razed by the waves, which in some areas were reported to have reached 100 feet (30 meters).
Ten years later, Boitano went back to Aceh, looking for the exact same locations of the photographs he took just after the disaster and shooting the exact same image, but in front of a very different scenery. The composite images he made show the resilience of the people of Aceh -- but the province is still reeling from the effects of the tsunami.
LEFT January 4, 2005: A A member of the Indonesian Army stands guard near the minaret of Al-Tawhid mosque in Banda Aceh. RIGHT December 13, 2014: Motorbikes ride past the rebuilt Al-Tawhid mosque. Photo: Stephen J. Boitano
LEFT January 6, 2005 : A scene of devastation on the Sungai Krueng Aceh river. RIGHT December 13, 2014: A rebuilt mosque along the river.Photo: Stephen J. Boitano
TOP January 4, 2005: The waterfront area after the tsunami in Ulee Lheue, Aceh. BOTTOM: The rebuilt waterfront area. Photo: Stephen J. Boitano
LEFT January 8, 2005: A body lies in the water near the beach almost two weeks after the tsunami in Leupung, Aceh. RIGHT December 13, 2014: The beach ten years after the tsunami, with vegetation regrowth on the hills in the background. Photo: Stephen J. Boitano
TOP January 4, 2005: Indonesian Army troops carry a body during clean up efforts in Banda Aceh. BOTTOM December 14, 2014: Motorbikes ride down the road.Photo: Stephen j. Boitano
TOP January 8, 2005: Bodies are stacked in a mass grave after the tsunami in Lhok Nga. BOTTOM The cemetery on December 14, 2014.Photo: Stephen J. Boitano
TOP January 5, 2005: A canal in Banda Aceh. BOTTOM The canal on December 15, 2014.Photo: Stephen J. Boitano