In the immediate aftermath of the December 26, 2004, tsunami, we pointed to satellite photos showing the before-and-after of coastal regions of Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and other affected locations. These images were among the most powerful representations of the disaster, as viewers could easily trace the path of destruction. New before-and-after images are now available, but these tell a very different story.
Photojournalist Zoriah covered both Sri Lanka and Thailand in the days following the tsunami; earlier this year, Zoriah returned to Thailand, and took pictures at the exact same sets of locations. WarShooter.com, a web portal for photojournalists covering conflict and disaster, posted the resulting side-by-side comparison this weekend. Some of the changes are subtle, but it’s clear that much of Thailand is well on the road to recovery.
John Stanmeyer also posted before-and-after shots, this time of Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Aceh still has much further to go than Thailand, but these images stand as record that human beings can, and will, choose to survive and flourish even in the wake of unthinkable disaster. (Warning: the first image of Stanmeyer’s collection includes a fully-visible corpse; the subsequent images aren’t nearly as disturbing.)