Boxing Day Tsunami

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  • Created by: Fiona
  • Created on: 16-05-13 17:35

Location and Hazard

The earthquake occured in the Indian Ocean

The epicentre was 160km from the Indonesian coast

The plates involved were the Eurasian and Indonesian plates

The focus was 20km under the sea

It measured 9.1 on the Richter scale and the tremors lasted for 5 minutes

A tsunami was triggered because the sea floor was displaced 20 metres - it travelled at 800km/h at a height of the 1m out of sea then heightened to 20m when it approached the land

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Social Impacts

In Sumatra alone 500,000 people were displaced

The earthquake (not the tsunami) caused damage in Banda Aceh province, Indonesia - for example all buildings over 3 storeys high collapsed due to the tremors

Illness occurred from the lack of clean drinking water - for example cholera and typhoid

Psychological trauma was one problem, which was made worse by the fact that local customs stated that the bodies of the dead had to be buried but often there was no body

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Environmental Impacts

Erosion resulted because on average each 1.5 metres of coastline was exposed to 100,000 tonnes of water

In the Maldives, 17 coral reefs were damaged and are now going to be uninhabitable for decades (loss of habitat)

There was also a loss of habitat in Sri Lanka, where on the east coast sea turtle hatcheries were destroyed, with only 400 out of 20,000 hatcheries on one beach surviving

Farmlands up to many kilometres inland because polluted by the influx of saltwater

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Demographic Impacts

230,000 people died

Among the dead were many tourists who were there on holiday, including 540 Swedes

The death of parents meant that children were orphaned

1/3 of the dead were children who drowned (many are unable to swim)

45,000 more women than men were killed - this was because many were waiting on the beaches for their husbands (fishermen) to return from work

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Economic Impacts

In total it cost $9.9 billion

It is estimated that there was a loss of 9,000 tourists

In Sri Lanka, 60% of the fishing fleet was destroyed - this then helped stimulate the boat building industry, although the extremely high demand led to a poor quality

The earthquake and the tsunami affected the Malacca Straits - in parts the depth altered from 4000 feet to 100 feet and this made it impossible for ships to pass through

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Short-Term Responses

On approach, some people climbed trees and high buildings in an attempt to escape but others headed to the beach to see what was happening

$14 billion in international aid was received

WHO warned that the number of deaths from preventable diseases could outnumber the actual total of deaths from the tsunami itself

The USGS were able to provide a warning to the countries on the west coast of Africa, which limited the number of deaths there

WHO provided food aid to 1.3 million people

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Long-Term Responses

In Aceh province, men are now struggling to find jobs and wives as both were lost in the tsunami

International Red Cross built 51,000 new houses

Action Aid provided psychological counselling and also paid for boats with motors for fishing communities

The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN trained 140 boat builders

An early warning system has since been installed in the Indian Ocean:

  • it was agreed in 2005 at a conference in Kobe
  • information from 25 seismic stations is sent to 26 national tsunami information centres and 3 deep ocean centres
  • it was designed to become active in June 2006
  • in July 2006 there was a smaller tsunami that hit the coastline of Java in Indonesia and 530 died because the system was not ready in time
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Response Problems

In March 2005 the Asian Development Bank reported that $4 billion of pledged aid had never been received

The altered topography led to broken communication links

The need to co-operate across national boundaries caused issues

In Sri Lanka some of the money given as aid was used by the Tamil Tigers (a rebel group) to buy arms - this contributed to the end of the ceasefire and meant those most in need didn't benefit

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