Essay No. 01
Tsunami is a series of strong ocean waves that sends surges of water, sometimes reaching height of many meters. This natural disaster occurs due to the volcanic eruptions in the oceans beds. Earthquakes and landslides are also responsible for tsunamis. Tsunami can create devastating impact near the coastline areas. Tsunamis caused by the earthquakes or volcanic eruptions underneath the seas are likely to be predicted.
Greek historian Thucydides investigated in his book History of the Peloponnesian War’ about the causes of tsunami. He was the first to claim that ocean earthquakes must be the cause of tsunami.
The disaster caused by waves generated because of earthquake and whose main point is beneath the water is called ‘tsunami’. The term ‘tsunami’, is also referred as tidal waves. Tsunami is a series of ocean waves with very long wavelength. It produces strong waves of water that moves landwards. The inland movement of water is much greater and lasts for a longer period, giving an impact of an extreme high tide.
On 9th July 1958, the biggest tsunami wave thus far recorded in history took place in a bay located in Lituya Bay along Alaska coast. After quake, a massive mass of rock fell into the bay waters from a nearby cliff. Its impact produced a wave that reached height of 524 meters. It is regarded as the biggest tsunami wave in history.
These destructive waves can also be produced in waters of lakes or bays. As the waves, approach the coast, its largeness increases. However, its size is quite low in deep-sea areas. Tsunami waves generating in bays or lakes do not travel long distances. They may not prove as destructive as the waves generated in the oceanic waters. Tsunami can travel in all directions from its main point. In December 2004, a series of tsunami waves were experienced in India. However, its origin was located in Indonesia. As many as two lakh people lost their lives as the waves travelled thousands of kilometers in countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Tsunamis mainly occur in the Pacific Ocean. There are more possibilities that they take place where there are large water bodies. Open bays and coastlines next to very deep water may shape the tsunami further into a step-like wave. Countries where tsunamis are commonly expected take preventive measures to reduce the damages caused onshore. To protect populated coastal areas many tsunami walls of up to fifteen feet are constructed in Japan. Special channels are built to redirect tsunami water safely. However, their efficiency has been challenged because often waters over top the barriers.
Essay No. 02
Tsunami – The Greatest Disaster
It was early morning of December 26, 2004, the day after Merry Christmas, when the sea parted off the coast of Indonesia, the raging water roared with a medieval echo. Rising from the floor of the ocean in gigantic waves, it robbed nations of their land, families of their loved ones and towns of their identity. The world was left shaken. The Sumatra earthquake that recorded 9 on the Richter scale had triggered a tsunami that lashed across the coast of 13 nations.
About 200,000 people lost their lives across south Asia and south-east Asia, along the coastline of India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. According to the WHO up to five million people had been displaced by the devastating tsunami. The worst affected country was Indonesia. About 100,000 people lost their life in Indonesia itself. Emergency workers who reached the northern tip of Sumatra Island (Indonesia) found that 10,000 had been killed in a single town, Meulaboh.
In Sri Lanka- some 1,600 km west of the epicenter about 50,000 people were killed one million people were affected. In Thailand, more than ten thousands were killed. Malaysia was also badly affected and lost couple of thousands of natives.
In India the worst affected areas were Tamil Nadu, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Pondicherry. About 10,000 people were killed in India. Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu and Car Nicobar in Andaman & Nicobar Islands were the worst affected areas here.
In terms of monetary loss, the tsunami disaster had caused the loss of several billion dollars in south Asia and south-east Asia.
The earthquake that unleashed deadly tidal waves in Asia on Sunday was so powerful that it made the earth wobble on its axis and permanently altered the regional map. The 9.0 magnitude trembler that struck 250 km south-east of Sumatra island may have moved small islands as much as 20 meters, according to some experts.
In the December 26 quake, the seismic fault lines ran north to south beneath the ocean floor off Sumatra, while the tsunami waves shot out west and eastward. Although Indonesia was closed to the earthquake’s epicenter, Sri Lanka was also badly hit. This is because of the earthquake’s mechanism and the fact that Sri Lanka was in the direct path of the generated waves. So was the Andaman’s archipelago with its chain of 572 islands, of which 38 are inhabited. It is these islands that bore the brunt of the tsunami.
It is said in hour of crisis the whole world unites. People all over the world are donating generously for the tsunami relief fund. The United Nations has started the biggest ever relief operations in the tsunami affected areas. Mass funerals were taking place amid scenes of traumatic grief as bodies lay rotting along coastlines throughout the region to a point where identification was no longer possible. The respective governments have been employing their armies, voluntary workers to carry out the massive relief operations. Till date 3 billion dollars have been collected in the relief fund. I
The December 26 tsunami tragedy is perhaps the worst natural disaster to have occurred in the living memory. However, there are some crucial lessons to be learnt from it. Had any of the Indian ocean nations have been members of the Tsunami Warning System, (The Pacific Tsunami Warning System, set up in Hawaii in 1965, has almost mastered the art of forecasting the destructive waves.) they would have got the advisory and India would have had at least three hours before the tsunami actually struck its coast to order evacuation or signal people to safety.