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The Boxing Day Tsunami
The Boxing Day Tsunami
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, also known as the Boxing Day Tsunami happened on 26 December 2004 and is considered one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. Due to a 9.3 magnitude earthquake (the second strongest earthquake ever recorded) and lasting between 8-10 minutes (the longest duration of faulting in history), it created a mega tsunami and triggered a few other smaller earthquakes, one as far away as Alaska. The earthquake caused a significant vibration throughout the entire planet and caused massive destruction in over 15 different countries and fatalities with nationalities from throughout the globe have been reported as a result of the mega disaster.
Boxing Day Tsunami
The Earthquake that took about 230,000 lives in total is considered the second deadliest earthquake in recorded history and happened just off Simeulue Island in the Indian Ocean, 30km below sea level. The earthquake caused plenty of other aftershocks including an 8.7 magnitude aftershock triggered earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. Smaller aftershocks reading an average of 6 in magnitude rocked the region daily for as much as three months after the 9.3 quake. The earthquake not only caused substantial differences to the land in the region, it produced a permanent rise in global sea level by at least 0.1mm and also caused the activation of the once-inactive volcano in Indonesia, Leuser Mountain.
In essence, though the earthquake was tremendous in power (it was estimated that total energy produced by the earthquake measured to about almost 10,000 gigatons of TNT, or 370 years of energy used by the entire United States), massive destruction was caused by the tsunami the earthquake created. The teletsunami, a tsunami that causes damage far from its actual source, was measured at a height of over 24 meters when it hit the town of Aceh and at its peak, reached over 100 feet, causing total destruction of the town and virtually leveled the town of Lhoknga in Indonesia. The strength of the tsunami caused waves to travel more than 2 kilometers inland, causing massive destruction of property.
Boxing Day Tsunami
The tsunami, despite the amount of time it took to cause excessive damage to different parts of the region, still took many by surprise and was the main cause of lives lost. Despite the massive earthquake, many disregarded the notion of a tsunami since a large earthquake measuring 8.7 in magnitude happened in the Indian Ocean in 2005 but a tsunami did not occur during that period. Since the Indian Ocean earthquake in December 26 2004, many have proposed a tsunami warning system and the United Nations have taken steps to implement an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System. Despite the tsunami catching most unsuspecting tourists and locals by surprise, there are some possible signs of a possible tsunami, such as the sea receding temporarily from the coast, something a 10 year old British girl on holiday by the name of Tilly Smith learned from her geography class and applied to during the disaster, a move that saved hundreds of lives.
The substantial and catastrophic damage caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake prompted one of the biggest donation ever recorded in history. With scenes of mass destruction appearing in the world media, on newspaper and on the internet, scores of donation poured in and in total, more than seven billion US dollars were raised in humanitarian aid, far more than the five billion US dollars amount of aid needed by the World Bank. Even though the disaster on 26 December claimed many lives, the disaster could perhaps be best summed up by the words of Tilly Smith, the 10 year old British schoolgirl who applied her knowledge learned from school to save plenty of lives, during the first anniversary of the Official Tsunami Commemorations. “It wasn’t devastation or death that won the day. It was humanity that triumphed, the shining victory of generosity, courage, love.”