It was a disaster still remembered today for its sheer destruction which saw 14 countries affected including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, Burma (Myanmar), Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, South Africa, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania and the Seychelles.
Indonesia in particular was worst affected with the most human losses and physical damage. although Thailand, Sri Lanka and India were very badly affected.
The BBC reported in 2005, in some coastal villages, more than 70 per cent of villagers were killed.
Meanwhile, more than 40 per cent of people in the Aceh province lost their livelihoods following the destruction of much of the fishing and agricultural sectors.
The Tsunami Evaluation Coalition, a multi-agency colloboration to evaulate the response to the disaster, said more than 600,000 people's work was affected "(in some cases only for a few months)" and 141,000 houses were destroyed.
A house standing amid debris of houses destroyed by tsunamis in the Galle district in the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka, 27 December 2004 (PHOTO: JIMIN LAI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
How many were killed and left homeless?
According to Oxfam, five million people were affected of which 1.7m were made homeless, half a million were injured and more than 230,000 were killed. The TEC said "40,000 to 45,000 more women than men were killed in the tsunami".
The multi-agency group said more than 1,000 of those killed were German and Swedish tourists who "lost more citizens than all but the four most affected countries".
The New Scientist reported that 150,000 could have potentially died from infectious diseases as a result of the disaster and a third of those killed were children.
A handout combo picture released by the Aceh and Nias Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR), shows aerial views of Calang, Aceh province, taken in August 2005 (L) and the same area in December 2007
How did the world respond?
As previously mentioned, the disaster led to a great number of individuals donating money. TEC and Oxfam say more than £8bn was raised internationally and the US military offered $250m (£160m) worth of support across the region.
Donations to Oxfam were £187m, 54 per cent of which was raised in the UK while the DEC raised £392m, and the former used the money to help people in seven countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand and Somalia.
Meanwhile TEC says more than 90 per cent of those interviewed in Indonesia said they had been rescued by private individuals.
Just how big was the earthquake itself?
As aforementioned, the earthquake reached a magnitude of 9.2 on the Richter scale with waves travelling inland as much as 2km. The US Geological Survey said it believed the Indian Ocean tsunami released energy equivalent to 23,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs.
Hazards in Asia
The World Bank has identified Asia as the most hazardous continent in the world. Countries which are particularly prone to hazards are Japan, Indonesia, China, Bangladesh, Philippines and India.
There are several plate boundaries [plate boundary: The region where two or more tectonic plates meet. It is a zone of intense seismic activity. ] which cross Asia.
Earthquakes and tsunamis – Japan
Japan is situated near a destructive plate margin [destructive plate margin: When two tectonic plates move towards one another. The oceanic crust is forced to sink back into the mantle, whilst the continental crust rises above. Volcanoes and earthquakes are found here.] , where the Pacific Plate is being pushed under the Philippine Plate.
Earthquakes are common in Japan. Japan has invested money into research and resources to help prepare for earthquakes. The preparation includes:
earthquake drills (practice evacuations) are carried out each year
buildings are designed to withstand strong tremor
households have earthquake survival kits and are familiar with what to do in an earthquake
It is able to invest in earthquake preparation because it is a wealthy country.
On 11 March 2011, a magnitude [magnitude: The size or severity of something, eg an earthquake.] nine earthquake struck off the coast of Japan. This earthquake created a tsunami [tsunami: A large destructive wave caused by an earthquake.] , which was 10 metres high in places.
A tsunami is most likely to happen:
when an earthquake focus is shallow
when the earthquake focus occurs in the ocean
when the earthquake is a high magnitude (6 or more)
The death toll from this earthquake is thought to be up to 30,000 people. It was the tsunami which caused the most deaths. Other problems were caused by this disaster included:
disruption to the infrastructure
radiation leaks from the nuclear power station at Fukushima
intermittent power (because many of the country’s nuclear reactors were taken off-line while there was uncertainty about the radiation)
industries had reduced production because of the limited power supplies
debris left behind from the tsunami covered large areas
Climatic hazards and extreme weather
Asia also suffers from a variety of climatic hazards. These include:
mudflows, landslides and flooding caused by heavy rain during the monsoon season
tropical storms originating from the Pacific Ocean
too little rain causes drought in some areas, eg China’s drought in 2011, followed by torrential rain. This caused crops to fail and food shortages
drought - about 14 per cent of the total land area in India is thought to be drought-prone
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