Deaths Injured Missing Displaced
Total 250,000+ 290,000 125,000 40,000 1.5 million
The quake jolted the Earth's rotation enough to trim a couple of microseconds off the clock. Relatively speaking, it was a small blip in the
long, violent history of a planet with a molten core, where entire continents have vanished and then reformed. But the seismic bump was
enough to displace trillions of tons of water in a few seconds. Silently, invisibly, the water pushed outward at the speed of a jet plane.
As it neared shore, the speed slowed, and large waves formed, in some places very large ones.
Usually, a tsunami does not look like the massive cresting mountain of water in the movie "The Day After Tomorrow” - Still, it's not a sight
you would ever want to see while standing on a beach.
DISASTER TOLL - Update
DEATH TOLL ESTIMATED BY THE UN - FEBRUARY 20TH 2005
300,000 in 11 countries 169,070 confirmed dead 128,426 missing
Thailand; 8,386 dead & missing
Total Injured; 500,000
Cost of reconstruction; £6 billion
Aid pledged; £3.7 billion
Jobs lost; 2 million
Homeless; 1.7 million
British victims; 61 dead & 139 missing
Many health professionals and aid workers are reporting widespread psychological trauma associated with the tsunami, and many sightings of ghosts
have been reported, particularly those of foreigners. Traditional beliefs that a relative of the family must bury the body of the dead or the ghost will
return. Some psychologists interpret this as evidence of psychological trauma.
According to the Thai Health Ministry, 10,000 people have already been treated by teams of mental health workers touring affected areas.
Counselling has also been carried out by Buddhist monks trained in psychology.
Somchai Chakrabhand, head of the Mental Health Department, said that about 30% of people in tsunami-hit areas showed signs of moderate
post-traumatic stress disorder, such as being unable to sleep or look at the sea.
Another 20% were "very significantly affected", he added - displaying symptoms such as an obsession with waiting for the return of their loved ones.
The 2004 tsunami is the deadliest in recorded history. Prior to 2004, the
deadliest recorded tsunami was the result of an earthquake near Awa, Japan, in
1703 that killed 100,000. In 1782, 40,000 people were killed by a tsunami in
the South China Sea, and the tsunami created by the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa is
thought to have resulted in 36,000 deaths. The most deadly tsunami between
1900 and 2004 occurred in 1908 in Messina, Italy, on the Mediterranean Sea
where the earthquake and tsunami killed 70,000. The most deadly tsunami in
the Atlantic Ocean resulted from the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, which, combined
with the toll from the actual earthquake and resulting fires, killed over 100,000.
The 2004 earthquake and tsunami seem to be the worst natural disaster since
either the 1976 Tangshan earthquake or the 1970 Bhola cyclone, or could
conceivably exceed both of these. Due to uncertainty over death tolls, it might
never be known for sure which of these natural disasters was the deadliest.
Relief agencies report that one-third of the dead appear to be children. This
is a result of the high proportion of children in the populations of many of
the affected regions and the fact that children were the least able to resist
being overcome by the surging waters.
In addition to the large number of local residents, up to 9,000 foreign
tourists (mostly Europeans) enjoying the peak holiday travel season were
among the dead or missing, especially Scandinavians. The European nation
hardest hit may have been Sweden, which reported more than 60 dead and
as many as 1,300 missing.
States of emergency were declared in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Maldives.
The United Nations has declared that the current relief operation will be the
costliest ever. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has stated that
reconstruction would probably take between five and ten years.
Governments and NGOs fear the final death toll may double as a result of
diseases, prompting a massive humanitarian response.
Measured in lives lost, this is one of the ten worst earthquakes in history. It
is also the single worst tsunami in history; the previous record was the 1703
tsunami at Awa, Japan, that killed over 100,000 people.
20 OCTOBER 2006
PHANG NGA: Three religious ceremonies - one Buddhist, one Christian and one Muslim - were performed
October 16 in preparation for burying 422 unidentified tsunami victims in Baan Bang Muang Cemetery.
Pol Col Khemmarin Hassiri, Superintendent of the Thai Tsunami Victim Identification unit, told the Phuket
Gazette, “These 422 bodies have not been claimed and we have no information about them, so we will bury
them at Baan Bang Muang Cemetery. Normally we would return them to the relatives, but we are unable to
identify the families of these victims.
“As a part of this process we will place each body in a bag with a code number, and put that number on a
plaque on the outside of the coffin so we can go back and identify any of the victims if we need to later. We are
also going to submit DNA samples from each body to Chiang Mai University for analysis.”
Col Khemmarin said the victims will be the first buried in the new 15-r ai cemetery. “We will finish burying them
by the beginning of December; we must have completed this by the time the cemetery opens on December
26,” he said.
“We are still trying to identify them, but we must keep the bodies in refrigerated rooms until they are ready to
go into the graves,” he added.