Today marks the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
On this day exactly ten years ago, a horrifying natural disaster took place that captured the world’s attention and sympathy. On 26th December 2004, a day after Christmas which is also known as Boxing Day, an earthquake of magnitude recorded between 9.1 to 9.3 occurred with an epi-centre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It is the third largest earthquake ever recorded by seismograph and had the longest duration of faulting ever observed, between 8.3 and 10 minutes. It caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 centimetre and triggered other earthquakes as far away as Alaska.
While the massive earthquake took place under the ocean, it was the triggered tsunami waves that claimed over 230 000 lives in 14 countries. There was no tsunami warning systems at the Indian Ocean at that time and the waves were reported to be over 10 metres high. Indonesia was the worst hit with over 160 000 dead, followed by Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Somalia, Myanmar, Maldives, Malaysia (my country), Tanzania, Seychelles, Bangladesh, South Africa, Yemen and Kenya. People at as far as Madagascar were displaced as tsunami waves also hit the island. The devastating tsunami swept everything on its path along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean.
The damages resulted from the tsunami were incomparable, but fortunately, the plight of the affected people and countries prompted a worldwide humanitarian response. In all, the worldwide community donated more than $14 billion (2004 US$) in humanitarian aid. All countries put aside their differences and the world stood together in sympathy, blessing and care for the affected people and countries of the disaster, which is the deadliest ever natural disaster I had ever seen.
I could still remember very well those clips recording the waves that hit the shore in a horrifying magnitude and swept people along with it. I’m instantly terrified and heartbroken by the scale of that disaster after I watched those clips. Ten years after, I believed all the plans to rebuild the affected areas were completed and people resumed their normal daily life at their respective places. After one decade, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami remained strong and saddening in our memory.
(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)