The Indonesian Boxing Day Tsunami

In 2004, the Boxing Day Tsunami caused by the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake took some 230000 lives in a matter of hours, becoming the deadliest recorded tsunami in history.

The devastating natural disaster occurred on December 26, 2004, in the Indian Ocean. The tsunami was caused by a massive undersea earthquake, which had a magnitude of 9.1 and was one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded.

The tsunami affected several countries in the region, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and Malaysia. In Indonesia, the hardest hit area was the province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra. Here, the tsunami caused widespread destruction and resulted in over 120,000 deaths.

The Indonesian Boxing Day Tsunami was a humanitarian disaster, as thousands of people were affected by the loss of their homes, loved ones, and livelihoods. The international community rallied to provide aid and assistance to the affected countries, and many countries and organizations pledged millions of dollars in aid to help rebuild the devastated areas.

Destruction from the tsunami extended hundreds of meters inland and stretched for thousands of kilometers. Credit: Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Jon Gesch, USN. (Earth Magazine)


"At 7:59 AM, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake—one of the largest ever recorded—ripped through an undersea fault in the Indian Ocean, propelling a massive column of water toward unsuspecting shores. The Boxing Day tsunami would be the deadliest in recorded history, taking a staggering 230,000 lives in a matter of hours." (History)

In the years following the disaster, significant efforts were made to rebuild the affected areas and to reduce the risk of future tsunamis in the region. This included the construction of early warning systems, improved infrastructure, and better preparedness plans.

National Geographic shared an incredible video taken from a hotel balcony of a wave generated from the tsunami off of the coast of Thailand.

Thanks as always for reading!

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