A powerful underwater earthquake struck off the north coast of the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, at 7:59 a.m. local time, triggering a series of underwater shock waves that would eventually be felt all around the edge of the Indian Ocean.
It was the Boxing Day tsunami (or Indian Ocean tsunami, or Asian tsunami) and it started to affect the shores of the Indian Ocean, first in the Indonesian region of Aceh, then on the Southern shores of Thailand’s Andaman Sea shortly after Sunday morning, December 26, 2004.
The magnitude 9.1 earthquake broke a 1,500 kilometer fault line where the Indian and Australian tectonic plates meet. The heavier oceanic plate slid under a lighter continental plate. The effect and location have proven to be fatal for anyone living along the coasts of the Indian Ocean.
Less than 20 minutes after the earthquake, the first of several waves 22 to 33 meters high hit the shore of Banda Aceh, killing more than 100,000 people. Then, successively, waves hit the coasts of Thailand, India and Sri Lanka, killing tens of thousands more. 8 hours later and 8,000 kilometers from its Asian epicenter, the tsunami claimed its last victims on the South African coast. A total of 230,000 to 250,000 people have died or have never been found, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in history.
The tsunami reached Phuket and neighboring coastal provinces around 10 a.m., causing countless casualties, devastating the low-lying coastal towns of Patong, Kamala and Koh Phi Phi. Some of the island’s other beaches suffered less damage with steep shoreline breaks that removed much of the initial wave energy.
Just north of Phuket, in Khao Lak, they had a very gently sloping coastline, so the waves moved quickly and reached areas up to a kilometer from the coast. Poom Jensen, the grandson of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and a nephew of the current Thai King, was killed while his family was on vacation in Khao Lak.
3 large waves that swept inland along parts of the Andaman Coast that day.
Official statistics from the Thai government estimate that 4,812 souls were lost in the waves on December 26, 2004, with 8,457 injured and 4,499 missing, presumed dead.
While the confirmed deaths in Phuket were officially only 259, 700 others remained unaccounted for.
Back then, popular tourist communities were able to clean up and reopen some of their hotels within weeks. A year later, most of the damage had been cleaned up and repaired. NGOs have rushed to Thailand to help with the process of cleaning up and identifying the dead.
The tsunami and its aftermath were responsible for immense destruction and loss around the Indian Ocean. Some places have reported that the waves reached heights of 20 meters or more when they touched the shore. In Aceh, up to 30 meters. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives and Thailand are suffering extensive damage.
17 years after the Indian Ocean tsunami, a container at Takua Pa Police Station in Phang Nga, southern Thailand, still contains personal items of hundreds of victims whose remains will likely never be named.
Wallets, documents, keys, electronic objects, all labeled and cataloged as evidence, await positive identification. Nearby, a cemetery contains 340 bodies buried in anonymous graves, but police hope that if people showed up to identify some of the objects, there was still hope that some of the bodies could rest in peace with a name. attached.
Here is a story about maintaining tsunami warning buoys.
Quick facts: 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean
â¢ The Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, which caused the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, is estimated to release energy equivalent to 23,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs.
â¢ In Banda Aceh, the landmass closest to the quake’s epicenter, waves from the tsunami exceeded 100 feet (30 meters)
â¢ The waves of the tsunami crossed the Indian Ocean at 500 mph, the speed of a jet plane.
â¢ The 2004 earthquake in Indonesia caused a displacement of the land mass which altered the rotation of the planet
â¢ The total material losses from the tsunami were estimated at US $ 10 million.
THE SOURCE: World vision