Tsunami: 10 years later


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 an undersea earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale off the coast of Banda Aceh, northern Sumatra. The region’s most powerful earthquake in 40 years tore open the sea bed off Indonesia’s Sumatra, displacing billions of tonnes of water. The tsunami claimed the lives of about 230,000 people. Many victims were never found or even identified. Ten years later, we take a look back at the disaster.

Ten years later



An undersea earthquake off Sumatra in Indonesia, measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale triggered a tsunami wave. The huge waves slammed the coastlines of India, Sri Lanka and South-East Asia contributing to an enormous death toll. 10 years later, we take a look back at the disaster.


Of quakes and killer waves

What made the earthquake very unique is that the focus (where the plate rupture actually takes place inside the earth) of the earthquake was very near the sea bed — only 10 km deep.


Slideshow: Remembering the Indian Ocean Tsunami


Death from the sea: An editorial published by The Hindu, a day after the tsunami struck.


  • December 2004: Tsunami exposes the vulnerability of the Indian coastline to Oceanic hazards
  • Early 2005: India starts its own interim tsunami warning center.
  • Interim services succeeded by setting up of ITEWS (Indian Tsunami Early Warning System) in phases.
  • ITEWS acts as one of the Regional Tsunami Advisory service Providers for the Indian Ocean Region.
  • ITEWS also provides tsunami advisories to the Indian Ocean rim countries.
  • October 2007: System became full-fledged 24X7 operational early warning system.
  • It is capable of issuing Tsunami bulletins in less than 10 minutes of quake. Are warning systems that important? >Read more
  • September 2014: Tsunami warning centre begins drill. >Read more
  • Ten years of tsunami: Disaster management still a pipe dream? >Read more

Ten years of tsunami: Disaster management still a pipe dream?

There is a State plan and a district plan to confront any disaster but there is no such plan at the village-level.


Fishermen have moved on

A decade after the devastating tsunami the fishing community is ensuring that its children get educated at any cost while widow remarriage is not frowned upon.


Doctor’s way of consoling himself

To tide over the loss and regain his composure, he had been providing free medical aid to his patients on December 26 every year.


Waves of painful memories

Ten years ago, the Indian Ocean tsunami washed away everything that T. Arulanandu held dear.


Finding traces of ancient tsunamis

A similar tsunami appears to have occurred about 1000 years ago


Survivors unwilling to share their angst

‘For you, it is just an event, for us it is a stark reminder of the pain we suffered’


'Mangroves can act as shield against tsunami'

The dense mangrove forests stood like a wall to save coastal communities living behind them.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 6:41:49 PM |

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