Tourists sunbathing on Patong beach just over a week after the tsunami struck South Asia on 26/12/2004. Most of the debris had been cleared away, in the hope of having the tourists return as soon as possible. At the moment however, few tourists remain and even fewer will enter the water. An underwater earthquake measuring 9 on the Richter scale triggered a series of tidal waves which caused devastation when they struck dry land. 12 countries in South Asia were affected by the tsunami, with a combined death toll of over 150,000. In Thailand many of the victims were Western tourists.