December 26, 2009

Five years later, the people hit by the Boxing Day tsunami are still struggling to recover:

Countries across the Indian Ocean are marking the fifth anniversary of the catastrophic tsunami that killed almost 250,000 people.

In Indonesia's Aceh province, where 170,000 died, thousands held prayers in public mosques and private homes.

On Thai beaches, Buddhist monks chanted prayers as mourners held pictures of loved ones lost five years ago.

Hundreds of tourists also returned to Phuket island to mark one of the worst natural disasters of modern times.

A moment of silence was observed on Phuket's popular Patong Beach marking the time the tsunami struck.

German survivor Ruschitschka Adolf, 73, and his wife Katherina waded into the turquoise seawater to lay white roses as a tribute to the dead.

"We [still] come and stay here because we are alive," Mr Adolf told Reuters news agency.

Other ceremonies were expected in the 14 countries hit by the massive wave.

In the meantime, agencies from around the world are still trying to rebuild in a place where all the boundaries have disappeared.

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