Asian Tsunami: A Contemporary Disaster

On 26th December 2004 an earthquake occurred undersea. This earthquake led to the Asian Tsunami. The epicenter of the earthquake was the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake released energy that is roughly equivalent to 475 kilotons of TNT.

Vibrations were seen and felt in different part of the globe. The complete planet is said to have vibrated by 1 cm. The primary earthquake triggered several secondary ones. Some of the tremors of secondary earthquakes were felt in Alaska as well.

Nearly 225,000 individuals lost their lives. 500,000 individuals were injured, belonging to 11 countries. Parents, sisters, and brothers were lost forever. Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and Indonesia were the worst-hit countries.

Nearly five million individuals lost their houses. Millions were left without access to food and drinking water. Add to this one million, who lost their means of livelihood. The Asian Tsunami garnered a humanitarian response from almost all countries. Nearly $7 billion were pledged as humanitarian aid. Some of the worst-hit areas are still coping with the recovery process. The of 2004 is easily the worst disaster in contemporary times.

The disaster occurred in the following manner:
When the plates on earth’s surface move rapidly against one another, an earthquake manifests itself. This causes an abrupt energy release in the crust of the earth. This leads to seismic waves.

On December 26, 2004, an earthquake occurred between the plates of Eurasia and Australia in the Indian Ocean. The earthquake measured 9.0 on the magnitude scale, making it the biggest earthquake in four decades.

The earthquake lasted for numerous minutes. A tsunami was triggered immediately. Several huge waves, which spread for thousands of miles, swept the Indian Ocean. The formation of these huge waves lasted for several hours.

The earthquake gave a tremendous jolt to the seabed from a vertical angle. This caused water displacement. Cubic kilometers in hundreds were displaced. This energy emanating from the earthquake caused the tsunami.

Mammoth waves moved toward the shoreline. They were moving in the opposite direction of the epicenter.

The speed of the waves in the ocean reached 500 mph. However, when the waves reached shallow regions toward the coast they slowed down. However, there was a corresponding increase in height.

Some regions, including the Sri Lankan town of Kalutara, received no prior warning. The receding shoreline and the subsequent exposed sea bed were the only signs of the impending tsunami.

Tsunami waves hit the land regions at intervals of 5 minutes and 40 minutes.

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