On This Day

Boxing Day Tsunami

The tsunami hits Ao Nang, Thailand
The tsunami hits Ao Nang, Thailand

Historical Context

On December 26, 2004, one of the most devastating natural disasters in history occurred when an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra measuring between 9.1 and 9.3 on the Richter scale triggered a gigantic tsunami across the Indian Ocean. Some of these tsunamis were up to 30 metres (100 ft) high, completely inundating and destroying coastal communities in a swathe of nations. An estimated 230,000 were killed.

The Indonesian city of Banda Aceh was worst affected, where as many as 167,000 people died. Other severely affected nations included Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Somalia and others. Indirectly affected were a vast number of countries around the world, particularly Germany, Finland, Norway and Sweden, from where many tourists had gone to Southeast Asia to escape winter.

The plight of victims and overwhelming scale of the disaster triggered one of the largest humanitarian aid operations in history, with donations of more than $14 billion. The earthquake that triggered the tsunamis was the third-largest ever recorded and faulted for between eight and ten minutes. Earth vibrated as much as 10 millimeters and earthquakes were triggered as far away as Alaska.

Photo Info

Photographer: David Rydevik
Date taken: December 26, 2004
Location taken: Ao Nang, Thailand

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Related Events

  • 2004-12-26 9.3 magnitude earthquake creates a tsunami causing devastation in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives and edges of the Indian Ocean, killing 230,000 people

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