Communities across Asia commemorated the 230,000 victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami on Thursday, the 15th anniversary of one of the world's most deadly disasters.
On the morning after Christmas Day in 2004, a 9.1 magnitude quake off northern Sumatra island triggered a tsunami with waves as high as 17.4 metres that swept over vulnerable coastal areas of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and nine other countries.
Indonesia remembers victims
Indonesians gathered on Thursday in the town of Sigli, in Aceh province, to hold a memorial service for friends and family of the natural disaster.
Aceh's Acting Governor Nova Iriansyah said the anniversary was held to thank the more than 150 countries that assisted in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the area.
"On behalf of the government and people of Aceh today, we formally want to thank more than 150 countries that have been involved in helping rehabilitation and reconstruction," Iriansyah said.
In the provincial capital Banda Aceh, relatives visited a mass grave where many victims were buried.
In Aceh, entire villages were flattened and more than 125,000 people perished in the giant waves.
Since then, the area has been largely rebuilt, with some 25,600 residential, commercial, government and school buildings constructed inside a high-risk zone, that had suffered virtually total devastation in 2004.
Muhammad Ikramullah was only 13 when the tsunami hit, killing his parents and younger sibling.
He spent years moving around, living with relatives and his parents' friends until he was able to provide for himself.
"I am still traumatised, I don't think I will ever forget what happened," the 28-year-old said.
Memorial in Thailand
In Thailand, where more than 5,300 people were killed, including tourists visiting resort islands in the Andaman Sea, officials held a memorial ceremony and called for more awareness and preparedness for disasters.
"The government wants to lift safety standards... and build awareness across all sectors in preparing and protecting people against disasters," Deputy Interior Minister, Nipon Bunyamanee, said at an opening ceremony.
He said December 26 had been designated national accident prevention day.
Officials later laid wreaths at a memorial centre in Phang Nga province to pay tribute to King Maha Vajiralongkorn's nephew, Bhumi Jensen, who was last seen jet-skiing off the coast when the tsunami hit.
An interfaith service for Muslim, Christian and Buddhist victims was also held.
Survivors from Ban Nam Khem, the worst-hit Thai village, will hold a candlelight vigil in the evening.
At least 1,400 people were killed when waves struck the fishing village.
In India, where more than 10,000 people died in the tsunami, survivors also were to hold memorial ceremonies.
More than 35,000 people died in Sri Lanka.