Maritime South Asia hit by massive tsunami

Indian Ocean tsunamis kill hundreds in India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia

An earthquake of magnitude 8.9 on the Richter scale occured on 26th December UTC 00:58, with its epicentre in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of northern Sumatra.

Courtesy: US Geological SurveyCourtesy: US Geological Survey

The earthquake set off tsunamis that have hit several countries of maritime southern Asia. Sri Lanka and Maldives have announced national emergencies, and the Indian cabinet’s Crisis Management Group has appointed Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar to oversee relief operations. The death toll is in the hundreds in the South Asian countries, and is climbing wildly. Scores of people have died in the three South East Asian countries.

How you can help.


  • The Command Post and Reuters Alertnet have have the latest. Malaysian blogger Jeff Ooi covers news of this disaster in greater detail from a variety of news sources. Geological details from the USGS.
  • The Indian Navy is lending a hand to the Sri Lankan rescue effort

    Five Naval warships loaded with relief supplies have left for Sri Lanka as Indian Air Force despatched three AN-32 transport aircrafts carrying relief and medical supplies to earthquake and tidal wave devastated Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands.

    Naval Chief Admiral Arun Prakash has directed that five Naval warships from Mumbai, Cochin and Vishakhapatnam to set sail for Trinconmalli and Gallie ports in Sri Lanka in response to a SOS received from the Sri Lankan government.

    He said warships are carrying rescue helicopters and boats, naval divers and relief and medical supplies and will be assisting the Sri Lankan navy in rescue operations.

    Three AN-32 IAF transport aircrafts left for Port Blair and Karnic airfields in the Andaman group of Islands carrying relief and medical supplies. [TOI]

  • How the Indian Government is managing the crisis.
  • India is providing emergency assistance to the Maldives
  • The scale of the disaster in unknown in Myanmar as it remains absurdly quiet.
  • Wikipedia’s comprehensive coverage (via Dina Mehta)

19 thoughts on “Maritime South Asia hit by massive tsunami”

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  9. Any thoughts why Bangladesh doesn’t seem to have been affected?

    There seems to have been an earthquake there also. I wonder if it was timed in such a way that it canceled out the incoming tsunami?

  10. Jon,

    My own (uneducated) guess is that the shockwaves from the earthquake propagated along the east-west more than the north-south; causing greater damage to the shores of India and Sri Lanka.

    Here’s an extract from Dhaka’s Daily Star

    Aftab Alam, a geologist and quake-specialist explained to The Daily Star why the water surged so significantly although the buildings were not affected very much.

    “This quake mainly shook the ocean waters which is interconnected with the sub-soil water tables,” Alam noted. “The hydrostatic pressure increased and that resulted in water surges in different water bodies across the country.”

    Mir Fazlul Karim, Director Geological Survey of Bangladesh considered Bangladesh lucky because it is located far away from the epicentre.

    “This type of earthquake occurred in 1734 and created tsunami through out the coastal region of Bangladesh. There is geological evidence in the Chittagong Hill Tracts that tidal waves rose up to 20 feet above the ground level,” Fazlul Karim said.

    Samerandra Karmakar, acting director of the met office, also considers Bangladesh lucky despite the fact that the richter scale record was very high. “We are lucky because of the long distance from the epicentre,” he noted. [Daily Star]

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  12. TSUNAMI SRI LANKA: Autism Awareness Campaign International Appeal

    The southern and east coast of Sri Lanka were devastated by the Tsunami – giant tidal waves smashed into the island killing thousands of innocent people including people with disabilities. Over a million were made homeless.Thousands of little children have died. Sri Lanka needs desperate help.

    The Autism Awareness Campaign in Sri Lanka appeal for humanitarian assistance – we urge you to help the people of Sri Lanka. Please donate generously to humanitarian campaigns such as Christian Aid, Oxfam, UNICEF, Care International, World Vision and others.

    Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has appealed to people around the world to help victims of the floods that struck Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Premier also expressed his thanks to the many countries that have pledged aid for the thousands affected by the tidal waves that followed an earthquake off the coast of Indonesia this morning.

    His office at the Temple Trees has already started a hotline for relief funds and information. The contact numbers are:

    Tel: 94112542871 or 94112392047
    Fax: 94112321404

    This operation is being coordinated personally by the Prime Minister through his Secretary Lalith Weeratunga – people around the world can also send donations to the Office of the Prime Minister, Temple Trees, Galle Road, Colombo-3, Sri Lanka.

    The Rotary Club of Colombo Regency in Sri Lanka [] are formulating plans to channel relief to the areas where they are most needed in Sri Lanka. At a time of this national disaster the nation and its people must stand together. Stand together to help the million victims who have been displaced from their homes and loved ones. Not only have these people lost their family/loved ones they have lost everything except for the clothes on their back.

    How you can help

    The Rotary Club of Colombo Regency, plans to implement the relief effort in phases in order for it to be effective.

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    The second phase in a few days will be to provide dry rations, milk powder etc. as hopefully by that time people would have been moved into refugee camps.

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    Mario Perumal +94 777 371204,
    Chamila Wicramasinghe +94 777 364618,
    Shantha Warnakulasuriya +94 777 355288,
    Bary Jaleel on +94 777 300239,
    Altaf Ismail +94 777 741855,

    Tharanga Gunaratne +94 777 389075,

    You can send cash contributions in the form of Cheques/Drafts/Money Orders as per the details given below:
    Beneficiary – “Rotary Club of Colombo Regency”
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    Bank Name : HSBC
    Postal Address : 24 Sir Baron Jayatilleke Mw, Colombo 01, Sri Lanka
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    Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka

  13. my heart goes out to the people who has been affected by the disaster. i an 300 000 km away and wish i could do something to help those destitute people. i am a follower of buddha and i pray day and night that the lord gives some kind of comfort to those who has left us. my prayers is to those who connot help themselves. may god be with all of you.

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