the morning of 26 December 2004, an
earthquake measuring 9.3 on the Richter
Scale originated about 150 kilometres northwest
of Sumatra, Indonesia. This massive tremor distorted
the ocean floor, forcing the overlying water into waves
as high as 25 meters (80 feet), and propelled them towards
coasts in all directions along the Indian Ocean rim.
This covered coastal countries of Asia and Africa.
This was a ‘Tsunami.’
A Japanese word, ‘Tsunami’ means ‘harbour
wave.’ It refers to a wave in an ocean or lake
that is created by an underwater event.
Much of the tsunami’s
devastation was on the coasts of South Asia and
South East Asia – with India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka
and Thailand suffering the most damage. Many coastal
villages and towns in these countries were completely
destroyed or badly damaged. Among the other affected
countries were Malaysia, Maldives and Myanmar in
Asia, and Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania in Africa.
Being responsible for over 300,000
deaths and millions of displacements, the 2004 Tsunami
was one of the worst known natural disasters of all
time. It tore through whole seaside communities and
often devastated them irreparably. Despite help from
all over the world, many of those affected are still
trying to rebuild their shattered lives.
here for Reuters map of the tsunami
here for BBC’s animation of the tsunami
here for BBC’s timeline of the unfolding tsunami
here for Inter Press Service dossier on tsunami news as reported by Asian reporters