On December 26, 2004, the India tectonic plate slide under the Burma plate along the seduction fault line. The shift occured in two phases over a span of several minutes. Seismographic evidence indicate that the earthquake measured a 9.1 on the rictor scale, making it the largest earthquake in 40 years.
After the tsunami, many roads connecting remote areas were destroyed. First responders struggled to deliever supplies to those in these rural or war stricken areas. A lack of clean water, food, and medical attention added to the death toll. This is extremely devestating because so many first responders that could have saved hundreds of lives were unable to even get to those in danger.
The long term environmental effects were just as severe and devestating. The salt water that flooded many farms and fishing grounds destroyed plants and crops. Tourist resorts and villages were also demolished or littered with debris and dead bodies. Effected countries were forced to pay major reconstruction costs to rebuild industries and means of communication (ex. bridges).
Today, new warning system technology allows citizens living in high risk areas to know about approaching tsunamis, giving them an opportunity to flee the area. Many countries affected by the Indian tsunami are developing countries, meaning they cannot afford to spend much money on prevention technology. With better warning systems, hundreds if not thousands of lives could have been saved.
Social Impacts Overview
- At least 200,000 people dead
- 1.7 million people homeless
- 5-6 million people in need of emergency aid
- Possible disease from mixing salt/fresh water with sewage
- Familes torn apart by death or displacement