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Japan tsunami 2004, the worst ever tremour that shook Indian Ocean

Swapna Mohanty | Updated on: 27 December 2017, 17:49 IST

13-years ago a magnitude of 9.1 earthquake recorded on Richter scale struck underwater of Indian Ocean near Indonesia creating a massive plate shift, Tsunami. It claimed 2,30,000 lives and left many without a home in more than fourteen countries making it one of the worst recorded disasters till date.

Hundreds of of villages in coastal areas were swept away with the gushing waters. What remained back was only extensive piles of timber and the remains of buildings. The waves were so high and mighty  that the buildings which withstood the earthquake to maximum extent also experienced severe destruction.

On this day  people who were enjoying Christmas vacations on the beaches of Thailand, coastline of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry, Maldives and Andaman & Nicobar islands were struck by the high-speed waves resulting in several lives being lost. The disaster left several people in a state of shock with nightmares that still haunt them. 

Hundreds of bridges were picked up and swept inland by the tsunami waves.The destruction of the bridges resulted in the disruption of road traffic and electric supply.
The calamity has had a lasting effect on our dear earth as after the tragic incident, the North Pole shifted by about 2.5 cms; after over a decade now, the coastal areas have been rebuilt, livelihoods are returning to normalcy, and life is improving for many of the thousands of survivors hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Going back in time, on the morning of December 26 at 8 am a quake of magnitude 9.1 was registered off the Sumatran coast. 30 minutes after the first quake, waves over 30 meters struck Sumatra and the country ended up losing over 1.3 lakh people.  And around the same time, the second quake hit Andaman & Nicobar islands. In the span of half an hour, the waves reached the coasts of Myanmar and Bangladesh and then Sri Lanka and the mainland India causing widespread destruction.

Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System which was officially launched in 2005, became fully operational in 2011. Researchers have been working on the data and scientists have been developing better models and keeping a track on the movement of waves from seas to the shores since then.

First published: 27 December 2017, 17:48 IST