29-12-04

69 - Tsunami 000-0000012-12


On 26 december 2004, 07:58:49 local time, a megathrust eartquake magnitude 9.0 in the Ring of Fire occured off the coast of West-Sumatra (Indonesia), near the island of Aceh, when the Australian tectonic plate subducted under the Eurasian plate. For an excellent overview, click here.
The resulting tsunami (ocean waves with long periods and wave lengths) hit the coasts of the Andaman Sea and the Indian ocean, traveling at the speed of an airliner. Although tsunamis generally don't exceed 1m, these ones were apparently 10m high, according to eye witnesses.
Immeditaly after the first reports, it was clear that this disaster would take many ten- or even hundred-thousands of lives on the South-East Asian shores, especially in Indonesia. Western media have been focusing on a few tens of tourists, about 30 or so Belgians in Thailand, and about 100 Swedish in Phuket escaping the dark season in Northern Europe during the holiday period, and enjoying the sun and more (Phuket is nicknamed Fucket) in Thailand. And what about Myanmar? No news yet.

Many of the poorest South-East Asians try to make a living on the coast by fishing. For an observation on the fishermans life (plus photos) click here. In India, fishermen are even outcasts, they are the lowest level of society. Far from the main roads, with no radio nor cellphones, they never can be reached by warnings (if any). The small roads will be jammed with pickups, the few hospitals will be out of reach. These first days, they will just be on their own. Their nipa huts will be washed away, families dispersed, deads unburried. No drinking water, cellphone antennas (mostly near the coast) phased out, so no communication.

Of course, international relief is gearing up now, but the pace is just too slow. Belgium sent one airplane with medical supplies, two days later. In the months to come, relief will be substantial, but the critical period is the first week.

The Belmont Club made some pertinent observations. Tsunamis don't hit like lightning, there are many minutes or even hours left before they hit the shores. "THIS EARTHQUAKE IS LOCATED OUTSIDE THE PACIFIC. NO DESTRUCTIVE TSUNAMI THREAT EXISTS BASED ON HISTORICAL EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI DATA. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY BULLETIN ISSUED FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.".
And if? There is simply no tsunami warning system in South-East Asia. Forget radio, forget cellphones, fishermen and their families don't carry them. What they need is a coordinated network of sirens along the coast. Never mind tsunamis only occur every 50-100 years. The Ring of Fire is a risk area. And the Philippines need it too, although we were spared this time.

Belgian residents can contribute to the bank nr. 000-0000012-12 (common donation number for all relief organisations) in the subject title of this article. Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre.

Links: Eyewitness photo report
Video from Patong beach hotel
Video from Sri Lanka beach hotel
Tsunami in Penang, Malaysia, video
(video might take long to load since the sites are very popular now)

Photo: (click to enlarge) Fishermens children on the Mindanao coast, november 2004. They need sirens. Did I say sirens? It's just a matter of time, they will be washed away, or their children.

16:20 Gepost door VH | Permalink | Commentaren (2) |  Facebook |

Commentaren

offtopic: lees dit even http://cgi.bnn.nl/cgi-bin/bnn//stemmen_frameset.cgi?site=2865

Dit zou je wat meer bezoekers op kunnen leveren...

Cheers,
peter.

Gepost door: Peter | 30-12-04

Thanx Thanx Peter, wie je ook bent ;-)

Gepost door: VH | 30-12-04

De commentaren zijn gesloten.