13 years after tsunami, scars remain

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Dec 2017 08:43:13



On 26th December 2004, the tsunami had struck south-east Asia, affecting 14 countries

In mainland India, Tamil Nadu and Andhra were worst affected


THE wounds might have healed. But the scars remain.
It has been 13 years since the tsunami which originated in the Indian Ocean, wreaked havoc in 14 countries, including Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and others. On this day in 2004, the tsunami struck south-east Asia and killed over 2,30,000 people in 14 different countries, mostly in Indonesia. The earthquake and resulting tsunami in the Indian Ocean had a devastating effect on India.

According to the Central Government, almost 11,000 people died in the tsunami and over 5,000 are still missing and
feared dead.
Minutes after the earthquake, the waves hit Andaman and Nicobar islands. In mainland India, Tamil Nadu and Andhra were worst affected. Chennai was one of the most major cities to be affected by the tsunami.

Silent rallies, tearful homage and special worships in memory of those, who were swept away by the deadly tsunami, on this day in 2004, marked the observation of the 13th solemn anniversary.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday remembered the hundreds of thousands who died in the incident.

“On this day in 2004, the tsunami had struck south-east Asia. Solemnly remembering the hundreds of thousands who died, including thousands in India, and those numerous whose lives were changed forever,” Banerjee posted on her social networking page.

The tsunami was a result of a megathrust 9.1 earthquake with the epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. This was one of the highest rating the Richter Scale had ever shown in recent history. Waves of up to 15 meter hit the coastlines of Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and Sumatra.

On December 26, 2004 morning walkers and fishermen residing along the eastern coast of India observed a strange phenomenon of the sea receding few hundred metres inside exposing parts of the coastal shelf. What they were observing was a precursor to the incoming gigantic tsunami waves generated due to a M 9.3 Great undersea earthquake off the coast of Banda Aceh, northern Sumatra.

This earthquake occurred along a thrust fault in the subduction zone where the Indian tectonic plate is going below the overriding Burmese plate. As a result, the ocean floor broke and there was a vertical displacement of about 15 to 20 meters along the fault causing large scale displacement of water and thus, generating tsunami waves.
This kind of large vertical displacement happened because the magnitude of the earthquake was greater than 9 and it occurred at a shallow depth of less than 30 km below the ocean. Since 1900, only five earthquakes, world-wide have exceeded magnitude 9.0 and all of them occurred in subduction zones at shallow depths and broke the ocean floor with displacement of the order of greater than 10 metres generating gigantic tsunami waves.

The Nicobar Islands were particularly affected by the tsunami. The islands of Great Nicobar and Car Nicobar experienced widespread devastation because of their general flatness. Some smaller islands in the Nicobars have completely vanished and others have changed shape, such as Trinket, which split into two parts after the tsunami hit. Saltwater intrusion has also occurred on many islands, destroying farmland and sources of freshwater.