Published on August 7, 2007
Tsunami:Magnitude of Terror: Tsunami: Magnitude of Terror Effects Contents: Contents Damage to Countries Death Toll Economy Environment Effects: Effects Damage to Countries Indonesia: Indonesia The epicenter of the Earthquake was located some 160km west of Sumatra and nearly all the casualties and damage took place within the province of Aceh. Indonesia's Ministry of Health has confirmed 166,320 dead but this is not the final count because most regions are still inaccessible and reports are slow. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that up to 100,000 are missing. In addition, the UN estimates that 655,000 people are homeless and sheltering in scattered refugee camps across the province. Ten metre tall waves passed the northern tip of Sumatra to turn southwards towards the Straits of Malacca and strike along the northeast coast. Indonesia: Indonesia The nearby town of Leupung has been obliterated by the tsunami. Nothing is left standing there and the estimated number of survivors is placed between two and seven hundred out of an original population of ten thousand. Other towns affected include Calang, Meluboh, Teunmon and numerous others. Most villages are simply destroyed or are too remote The nearby town of Leupung has been obliterated by the tsunami. Nothing is left standing there and the estimated number of survivors is placed between two and seven hundred out of an original population of ten thousand. Other towns affected include Calang, Meluboh, Teunmon and numerous others. Most villages are simply destroyed or are too remote Sri Lanka : Sri Lanka An island nation situated in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka was the 2nd worst hit by the tsunami. However, in terms of country size, Sri Lanka was in fact hit harder by the tsunami than Indonesia because most of its coastline was hit by the deadly waves. Sri Lankan authorities report 30,196 confirmed deaths as of 3 January 2005 after the island was hit by the tsunami. Many of the dead were children and the elderly. The south and east coasts were worst hit. An estimated one and a half million people have been displaced from their homes. Roughly 1,200 bodies were counted at Batticaloa in the east. 800 were reported dead when the tsunami reached more than 2 kilometres (1.25 miles) inland at Trincomalee to the northeast. Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka More than 5,000 are dead in the Amparai district. Even a train, the Sea Queen, moving between Colombo and Galle was struck by the killer waves, killing 1,300 onboard out of the 1,600 passengers. The agricultural sector has been adversely affected by the aftermath of the tsunami. 259 hectares of paddy land along the coast were destroyed. Furthermore, the paddy lands which were flooded with salt water cannot be used for cultivation due to the salinity of the soil. Large numbers of agricultural machinery have been destroyed and canals and drains have been blocked. Many hotels were damaged as well. Hotels along the southern coast were packed with both foreign tourists and Sri Lankans making use of the long Christmas weekend. The main highway in the southern Sri Lanka which runs along the coast was closed in the wake of the tsunami, delaying relief supplies. India : India In terms of the number of casualties, India was the 3rd worst hit country partly because a large section of its coastline was hard hit by the tsunami. The areas that were hit included the state of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Pondicherry and the Andaman and Nicobar islands. With a death toll of 7,793, the state of Tamil Nadu was no doubt the worst hit on the mainland. In the Nagapattinam district alone there were 5,525 casualties, with entire villages having been destroyed. The Kanyakumari district has had 808 deaths and the Cuddalore district 599, the state capital Chennai 206 and Kancheepuram district 124. The casualties in Kanyakumari include pilgrims taking a holy dip in the sea and visitors to the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. People playing and taking a Sunday morning stroll along the Marina beach in Chennai were washed away. India: India In addition, the fishing villagers who lived along the shore and those out at sea were washed away as well. In Velankanni, in the district of Nagapttinam, most of the casualties were people visiting the Basilica of the Virgin Mary for Christmas and the residents of the town. Operations at the nuclear power plant at Kalpakkam were suspended after sea water gushed into a pump station. There were no reports of any radiation leakage or damage to the reactor but 100 casualties were reported. The official death toll for the Andaman and Nicobar islands is 812, and about 7,000 are still missing, presumed dead. At least one fifth of the population of the Nicobar islands are amongst the casualties. Entire islands were washed away and communications have yet been restored with the Nancowry group of islands, some of which have been completely submerged, leaving the total number people out of contact at 7,000. Thailand : Thailand The Thai government reports 5,246 missing and estimates that 8,000 are likely to have died. Several popular tourist resorts such as Phuket, Khao Lak and the Phi Phi Islands were hit hard by the waves. The resort area of Khao Lak report 3,950 confirmed deaths and the final count may very well exceed 4,500. Hundreds of holiday bungalows on the Phi Phi Islands were washed out to sea. Bhumi Jensen, grandson of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was among those killed. The tourism and fishing sectors have been adversely affected by the aftermath of the tsunami. The beach resorts along the Andaman Sea coast have been extensively damaged it will take many years for recovery. Numerous hotels and small businesses have been ruined and the price for recovery will be extremely costly. Malaysia : Malaysia Shielded by the island of Sumatra, Malaysia escaped the kind of damage that struck countries much further away. The affected areas were the northern coastal areas islands such as Penang and Langkawi. The number of deaths are as follows; 52 in Penang, 12 in Kedah, 3 in Perak and 1 in Selangor with a total of 68. Among the dead were picnickers and children playing at the beach in Penang. However, no deaths are reported among foreign tourists. Fishing villages in Batu Maung and Bayan Lepas in Penang were damaged as well. Coastal areas in Peninsular Malaysia were also affected. Roughly one quarter of holiday vessels anchored in Rebak and Telaga harbour in Langkawi were damaged. Myanmar: Myanmar It is difficult to gauge how many people have been killed in Myanmar because foreign journalists are not permitted to enter and the information published on state-run newspapers is tightly controlled. However, the official death toll stands at 56 whereas independent sources report of some 90 deaths. At least 30,000 citizens of Myanmar are in dire need of shelter, food and water and around 788 buildings were purportedly damaged or destroyed. An estimated 7,000 people are still missing Others: Others In Bangladesh, 2 children killed after a tourist boat capsized in surging waves. In Yemen, 1 child was killed and 40 fishing boats wrecked on Socotra Island. 10 were killed in Tanzania, with an unknown number of people missing. Waves struck Kenya causing some minor damage. One person reported drowned at Watamu, near Mombasa. 3 were killed in Seychelles, seven people missing. A major bridge in Port Victoria also destroyed. 2 deaths have been reported in South Africa, with some significant damage to structures inland. 176 people were reported dead in Somalia with 50,000 people displaced from their homes. A further 82 people dead and 26 missing, presumed dead were reported in the Maldives. Effects: Effects Death Toll Death Toll : Death Toll Death Toll : Death Toll Effects: Effects Economical Impact Economical Impact : Economical Impact The immediate relief needs in the affected countries in the Indian Ocean are gigantic and complicated, and there will be a long term need for rebuilding in these areas. The disaster is complicated because there are the effects of the earthquake near the epicenter (Banda Aceh) and the widespread effects of the tsunami wave. In effect, there are two disasters, a very serious earthquake as well as the effects of the tsunamis generated. The effects are likely to be most severe and apparent for island economies and countries/cities dependent on the sea and near the epicenter of the earthquake (Banda Aceh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Maldives). Undesirable Effects : Undesirable Effects For the many indigenous fishermen who have no other skills, can no longer depend on fishing as a means of survival for the time being. The fish stock has been depleted, as would the fishermen's money. Also, the many of the fishermen's families would have lost their sole breadwinners, together with the fishing boats and equipment, adding on to their already heightening problems. The tsunamis that affected the coast of Thailand, Indonesia and the Maldives has destroyed much of the marine biology there, also damaging the ecosystem severely. Even if the fish had detected the incoming tsunami, they would most probably still have gotten caught up in it, due to its immense energy. Any fish trying to swim away from it would also have ended up on the shores,after being swept ashore. Also, the arrival of a tsunami is marked by a huge receding wave, which would have left fish flopping on the seabed. Undesirable Effects : Undesirable Effects Millions of fish were swept ashore by the huge waves, and many more will continue to die, being unable to survive in the severely damaged habitat left in the wake of the tsunami. The marine ecosystem is hence likely to have been affected badly, with the predators up the food chain, such as dolphins and sharks, dying out due to the lack of food. Many species will not be able to adapt to the sudden change in their lifestyle and will inevitably die. In addition, even if there were fish to be caught, there would be a substantial number of people in the region who refuse to consume marine products such as fish and shellfish, for fear that they could be eating the remains of the victims of the tsunami. Getting them to consume seafood again would be no easy feat. All these serve to deal the already battered fishing industry another devastating blow. Undesirable Effects: Undesirable Effects Fish is also a popular food in these countries due to the affected countries being surrounded by water, and the sudden lack of fish and its important nutrients may pose a problem for the people used to having fish at every other meal. Seafood farms in countries such as Thailand would also have been damaged, with their owners suffering enormous losses. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland said that relief supplies could be moved to tsunami-hit regions in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, but ninety percent of the problem remains in Indonesian archipelago. He estimated that there are currently over 1.8 million people in tsunami-stricken countries in need of food aid around 1 million in Indonesia, and around 700,000 in Sri Lanka, with the remainder in the Maldives and Somalia. Undesirable Effects : Undesirable Effects ABC News has reported that heavy rains and fresh floods had disrupted relief efforts in Asia's tsunami-hit countries villages as the United Nations refugee agency started a 400 ton airlift as part of a $2 billion relief operation to save the millions who had survived but were struggling to survive. Tropical rainstorms in Aceh province of Indonesia and flooding along Sri Lanka's low-lying coast also hampered aid deliveries. The damage to human and animal life was also tremendous, leaving an estimated 150,000 people dead in Indonesia alone. The latest total death toll is expected to be over 225,000, one of the largest dealt by a tsunami in history. When the sheer force of a incoming tsunami obliterates everything in its path, it also clears away roads and railways, hampering rescue efforts. Undesirable Effects : Undesirable Effects In addition, the torrential water deluging entire hectares prevent helicopters from landing. Most of the affected villages were situated in isolated areas and are extremely hard to get to. Furthermore, the huge mass of water also broke sewage and water pipes, contaminating water and food sources. Subsequently, diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery and dengue then become more rampant. The rotting corpses left behind by the tsunami also helped to spread diseases to the survivors. Crops, settlements, wildlife, properties were severely destroyed, with power and communications disrupted, adding on to the daunting task of rescue work. People clung on to trees for their dear life; some were rescued, but some were also swept away, right in front of their relatives and family members. The emotional and mental trauma would remain in all those affected for years, even if they had escaped a watery grave. Undesirable Effects : Undesirable Effects Skipping to the damage to the economy, the tsunamis of SE Asia have dealt a heavy blow to the tourism industry in the region. The huge losses of life suffered by Thailand and the Maldives, which were once extremely popular tourist destinations, only proved that safety measures in the above countries had been taken lightly and were inadequate. As such, potential tourists would have lost a sense of security in visiting these countries. People would also refrain from visiting the countries for fear of being affected by similar incidences due to this lack of protection. Furthermore, few people would want to visit a site ravaged by the forces of nature, where countless died, for the time being, either out of respect for the dead or due to its pure eeriness itself. Undesirable Effects: Undesirable Effects The governments of the affected countries would hence lose massive amounts of money which could have been otherwise used for improving the general standard of living of the people. The impact of the tsunami on the Maldives and Phuket is expected to set the growth rate back for at least two years. It would take half to two years to rebuild the devastated stretches of beaches, which were once tourist havens, and probably even longer to attract back the tourists. Countries which would be affected most severely would be Thailand and the Maldives, both of which are still in the developing stage and need large amounts of resources and finances to provide for an ever-growing population. This is especially for the Maldives, which relies mainly on tourism revenues to feed its people, and would pose a formidable problem. Undesirable Effects : Undesirable Effects Now, not only do all the above countries stop getting tourism revenue, they also have to fork out money and divert government spending to rebuild the resorts and hotels which were destroyed during the tsunami, which would be extremely detrimental to those who lost a lot of assets during the disaster. Somalia, a country in Africa, would also be badly affected due to the extreme poverty and lack of government. To quote another example, Banda Aceh was arguably the place which suffered the most losses during the entire event. Their road to recovery would be arduous, as the area itself is in political turmoil, with the tsunami exacerbating the numerous problems it was already facing. The greatest challenge in the long term however, for all countries, will be in making sure that the poor, especially those who fish for a living, those who are on the margins of the tourist economy and in remoter areas are helped to recover. Undesirable Effects : Undesirable Effects On to secondary impacts, they depend very much on the structure of economies and on their tenacity. The effects are much worse when many other sectors depend a lot on the affected sector or if there is a huge impact on the government expenditure. Generally, the more developed economies are more resilient than those economies which are less developed. Surprisingly, the large scale economic effects of such natural disasters are mostly quite short-lived. It has been proven unusual to find large drops in national income or dips in the annual growth rate from these catastrophes. Sometimes, natural disasters can also have a positive effect, because of increased spending on the rebuilding of infrastructure and more concerns over safety matters. Undesirable Effects : Undesirable Effects The refugee camps housing the internally displaced people also had squalid conditions, unfit for living in. Hence many wounds were only hastily treated as there was a shortage of manpower. Luckily for the injured, many volunteers from over 10 countries joined in the relief efforts to provide adequate healthcare services for them. Effects: Effects Environmental Consequences Environmental Consequences : Environmental Consequences Precious coral reefs and mangrove areas would have been crushed by the huge tsunami waves that have devastated southern Asia, an environmental and economic setback that could take years to reverse. The reefs around Sri Lanka and Phuket have been severely damaged due to then bearing the brunt of the forceful walls of water. When the waves get close to shore, their height is amplified and they release all their energy, decimating everything in their paths. The atolls of the alluring Maldives and the southern Thai islands (including Mangrove areas that act as nursery habitats to fish and shrimp) were also destroyed by the strong waves. Environmental Consequences : Environmental Consequences According to scientists, reef-forming coral grows only about ½ cm, or 1/5 inch a year, thus for the seaside resorts on the numerous affected islands to regain their previous splendor could take several years to a decade. The worst marine damage was likely to have been concentrated 100m to 1km from shore. Fortunately, large sea mammals such as whales and dolphins probably suffered little impact. According to Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, dolphins can feel disturbances happening in the water and would have most likely headed for deep water where they would be safe. Also, they mostly inhabit the areas far offshore, where the tsunami has the least damaging capacity.