n Dec. 26, 2004, one of the deadliest natural disasters in recent history ravaged 11 nations bordering the Indian Ocean. More than 150,000 people lost their lives and millions were left homeless and desolate by the Asian tsunami.
A tsunami is a quick and drastic change in sea level after an underwater earthquake causes a series of waves. The waves often come in rapid, flood-like surges rather than walls of water. Receding water and a sound like a jet engine may give several minutes warning before a tsunami.
The losses associated with the 2004 tsunami extend far beyond the shores of the flooded nations. Western tourists from Sweden, Germany and other countries still return annually to mourn their loved ones. Yet it is nations like Thailand that are left to rebuild and start over.