The tsunami of 26 December 2004

The Sumatra-Andaman earthquake was a great undersea earthquake that occurred at 07:58:53 (local time) on 26 December 2004, with an epicenter near the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia (WHO, 2005a). The magnitude was graded 9.1-9.3 on the Richter Scale, and it was reported to be the longest earthquake on record, lasting between 500 and 600 seconds (8.3-10 minutes). This was large enough to cause the entire globe to vibrate approximately 1 centimeter. The original death toll was originally reported as over 275,000, but the updated UN figure is 229,866, including 186,983 dead and 42,883 missing. There were also approximately 2 million people displaced. The greatest toll was in Indonesia, particularly the Aceh Province (see Table 13.3).

Table 13.3 Tsunami toll (four major countries)

Country

Deaths

Missing

Total

Displaced

Indonesia

166,760

6222

172,982

452,845

Sri Lanka

30,920

6020

36,940

431,224

India

10,747

5553

16,300

647,556

Thailand

5373

3141

8514

8500

Source: WHO (2005b).

Source: WHO (2005b).

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