Boxing Day Tsunami Case Study

Causes, social, economic and environmental impacts and responses

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Boxing Day Tsunami Case Study
Type of hazard Tsunami
Plate Boundary IndoAustralian plate subducting under the Eurasian
Date of event 26th December 2004
Location Indian Ocean
Economic development Mostly LEDC's
Causes A 99.3 megathrust earthquake at 07:58 ­ one of the 5
largest earthquakes in the past century
The epicentre was off the west coast of Sumatra
20m uplift of the crust along a 1000km fault line
Billions of tonnes of water was displaced setting off the
Faulting took 810 minutes
Awareness No tsunami warning system
Very few people knew what a tsunami was, ran out to pick
up fish as the sea retreated
Social Impacts 230,000 lives lost in 14 countries
2 million homeless
Sumatra experienced the highest death toll with 130,000
and 30,000 missing
Sumatra 500,000 were made homeless
70% of coastal populations were killed or missing in
Sumatra saw 80,000 houses destroyed within 1km of the
Banda Aceh, coastal city in Sumatra, saw relatively well
built structure 3 storeys + damaged
In Sri Lanka a train was derailed by the force of the wave
killing 1000 people
8 people were killed in South Africa, 8000km away
150,000 killed by diseases such as cholera and dysentery
due to a lack of clean water and sanitation
Land disputes broke out as documents were lost
Economic Impacts Destroyed fishing boats and fishing areas which provided
250,000 jobs
66% of the fishing fleet and industrial infrastructure in
coastal regions was destroyed
Loss of foreign income due to a lack of tourism, in Phuket
damages and losses totalled 60% of gross provincial
product, tourism expenditure decreased by 70%
400,000 people lost their jobs in Sri Lanka
On a local scale economies were ruined but the effect on
national economies was minimal
In Sri Lanka 51,000 fishing vessels were lost creating a
demand for fibreglass boats leading to an industry boom
Environmental Impacts Changed seabed height and moved buoys and shipwrecks
along the Malacca Straits

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Destroyed coral reefs, mangroves, forests and wetlands
which will take years to recover
Fresh water supplies including wells were polluted by salt
Farming land was lost due to it being ruined by salt water
Of the 199 inhabited islands that make up the Maldives 20
were destroyed
Response Short Term
$7billion in aid from governments and NGO's
Aid such as water purification tablets, temporary housing
and medical supplies
Bodies were buried in mass graves
5 million people were relocated to temporary refugee
Long…read more


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