Deddeda Stemler

Emergency crews search for bodies and pump water from the flooded main floor lobby of the Sea Pearl Resort at Patong Beach on Phuket Island, Thailand. Deddeda Stemler took this photo on December 28, 2004, two days after a major earthquake generated deadly tsunamis that ravaged coastlines from Southeast Asia to Africa. Approximately 275,000 people were killed and tens of thousands were left homeless after one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern history.
Deddeda and her husband, Sean White, were on the island of Koh Tao, on the East Coast of Thailand, when the tsunamis hit. They flew to Phuket the next morning to document the aftermath at Patong Beach where three tsunamis hit, killing more than 5,000 people. People were still fleeing the area in panic, terrified that another wave was coming.
Deddeda submitted this photo to Canadian Press before they had news of the magnitude of destruction in Thailand and other countries. The photo was then picked up by Associated Press and published in magazines, news broadcasts and websites worldwide.
After returning home, Deddeda and Sean hosted a photo exhibition as well as a photo presentation of their tsunami aftermath images at the National Geographic IMAX Theatre in Victoria, B.C., and raised $45,000 for UNICEF.

Deddeda is an award-winning photographer based in Tofino, BC. She specializes in photojournalism and travel photography. Her photographs have been published in major magazines, books and newspapers worldwide including National Geographic Adventure, Time, New York Times, Scientific American, Canadian Geographic, Canadian Living, Lonely Planet, Globe and Mail, Reader’s Digest, Photo Life, Chicago Tribune, National Post, Toronto Star, Seattle Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Vancouver Sun, and the Holland Herald, to name a few. In addition to photography, she loves to travel, paraglide and surf.