The earthquake measured 9.3 on the richter scale
It happened in the Indian Ocean, just off the west coast of Sumatra
Worst hit places were Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka
Social short term effects
230,000 people were killed in over 14 countries although because many births in these countries aren’t registered there were probably many more deaths than this. Estimates suggest 220,000 died in Indonesia alone. 9,000 tourists were killed. Entire communities were destroyed (Andaman Islands) . Many of the dead were women and children due to women being on the beaches waiting for their fishermen to return from sea and children were too weak to fight the waters. 5 million people were homeless due to homes being washed away and many were treated for sunstroke and dehydration having waited hours before being rescued. People were drinking dirty water which lead to illness. Infrastructure was destroyed making access to the injured difficult
social long term effects
Most people in these communities make a living from fishing and farming. Fishing boats were destroyed which damaged the fishing industry and with farmland being flooded in salty water meant crops were ruined and livestock killed. People went hungry . Many people live in coastal areas due to fishing and making a living from tourism, these places received the full force of the waves. Many people suffered the emotional loss of loved ones with almost everyone knowing someone had died. They also weren’t able to practise their cultural and religious traditions of burying their loved ones because no body was found.
environmental short term effects
- trees and the coastal zone was destroyed.
- Coral reefs were lifted up out of the water and damaged
- People were treated for injuries like snake bites
- Due to hot weather, dead bodies decomposed in the hot sun leading to diseases and secondary deaths from cholera and typhoid
- Thousands of tonnes of debris littered the landscape
Environmental long term effects
- wildlife and vegetation would take a long time to regrow.
- Water sources have become polluted with sewerage taking a long time and money to fix
- Salted soil renders farmland sterile affecting farming for decades to come.
Economical short term effects
- many communities kept savings in homes, these would have been washed away with the flood waters.
- People in LEDC’s don’t have insurance from natural disasters and therefore would have lost a lot
- Due to the fishing and farming industries being destroyed, income from selling produce to local markets would have been lost
- Infrastructure including roads and rail were destroyed costing thousands
- The tourist industry was badly affected. Tourists stopped coming due to psychological reasons meaning people lost much needed income
Economical long term effects
- The costs of clearing debris and rebuilding lives was enormous. $14 billion US dollars was donated worldwide and this still isn’t enough
- The loss from tourism and fishing and farming industries will take decades to recover
- The response was slow because of poor equipment and training. There were worldwide appeals for aid.
- Access was difficult due to badly damaged communications.
- No warnings were given to many of the countries of the tsunami whose lives could have been saved.
- A worldwide response included the donation of $14 billion US dollars
- Volunteers went out to help with the rescue and clear up
- Bodies were burnt and buried to try and prevent the spread of disease.
- A tsunami warning system was set up in 2005 following the event
- Media coverage reported on the disaster, raising awareness and aid
What made the disaster worst? - social
So many lives were lost, everyone knew of someone that died – the emotional loss is huge and will continue to be so for decades . The shear number of dead bodies and the heat meant disease was hard to contain. Most people’s lives relied heavily on farming meaning they lost their source of income and protein leading to hunger . A lot of the communities hit were Muslim, therefore their values and attitudes were such that it was an act of God and people spent hours praying not necessarily rescuing and rebuilding lives. Many lived near the coast due to tourism and fishing meaning they were hardest hit by the waves. Language barriers between countries made relief efforts difficult. Awareness – people were unaware of how to respond to such events due to lack of knowledge and education. They were taken completely by surprise.
What made the disaster worse? - Environmental
- Before the disaster many of the coastal mangraves and coral reefs had been removed to enable easier fishing and access to the beaches, this meant there was no natural bufferage to slow down the waves
- The earthquake focus was shallow directing the energy upwards meaning that the magnitude of the waves was much greater.
- The focus was near land meaning the tsunami struck within 15 minutes of the earthquake
- The duration of the earthquake was 10 minutes increasing the magnitude of the event
What made the disaster worst? - Economical
- Most of the countries affected were LEDC’s- this meant they didn’t have the resources and funding to protect and prepare for such events
- Due to lack of money, there was no warning system in place. If there had been, evacuations could have taken place and lives could have been saved
What made the disaster worst? - Political
- Governments hadn’t spent money on warning systems because other issues were considered more important at the time
- Civil wars and political groups (Tamil Tigers) created no go areas and restricted access in Somalia which made relief/rescue efforts really difficult
- Response times were slow due to poor equipment and training