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2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami


  • List of organizations providing relief assistance to tsunami victims. AP/Tampa Bay Tribune_ 12/29/04
  • Companies supplying water, purification equipment and related water aid:
    • Universal Communication System, Inc. subsidiary Air Water Corporation, to send 20 air water machines to Sri Lanka: Company to deliver a complete turnkey water operation. Press Release_ 1/3/05
    • Coca Cola Company: More than one million bottles of water distributed in Indonesia, India and other nations hit by the tsunami. Press Release 1/7/05

Drinking Water and Sewage Treatment

  • World Health Organization (WHO): Poor quality and quantity of water and insufficient sanitation, overcrowding and poor hygiene in temporary camps will bring forward the risk for outbreaks of different diarrhoeal diseases. Thorough and sustained water purification is an absolute priority.



Tsunami warnings

Tsunami research


Earth Works

  • Animated recreation of how the earthquake and tsunami happened. BBC News_ 12/30/04
  • How the earth works :George Mason University physics department
  • Tsunami!  University of Washington department of Earth and Space Sciences interactive and general information tsunami site



Coral growth indicate another Sumatra quake

With coral reefs as their tea leaves, scientists are forecasting that in the next several decades there will be another major earthquake along the Sunda fault off Sumatra like the one that spawned the catastrophic tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004.  Researchers writing in the journal Science, say that a 2007 quake along a more southerly stretch of the fault represented only a first, partial rupture of that 400-mile section, which had been quiet for nearly two centuries. The researchers say this part of the fault, called the Mentawai section, is likely to be the site of at least one more major rupture.  Coral growth patterns indicate that the quake is part of a cycle of activity.  Each cycle consists of several major events over three or more decades.  The 2007 quake may be the first of a new cycle. _New York Times 12/12/08

UN turns a blind eye to reports of million-dollar tsunami aid fraud

Tsunami reconstruction funds worth $US500 million are being lost to fraud and corruption because of the failure by the United Nations to implement its own anti-fraud measures. This claim is made by the UN's former deputy director of investigations, Frank Montil, a former ASIO officer who for a decade was the deputy director of the UN's internal watchdog unit, set up to investigate fraud and corruption within the UN and its agencies. In an exclusive interview with the Herald, Mr Montil said "the oil-for-food scandal taught them nothing". The fraud and corruption which had been occurring during the Indonesia tsunami reconstruction period would come back to haunt the UN, which had wilfully ignored all the warning signs. His findings made for frightening reading. His inquiries revealed that every project would automatically attract a 10 per cent premium to cater for bribes "to a variety of parties who may have an influence on whether or not a project will go ahead." In large infrastructure and building procurement, his team learnt that there was almost always collusion between the winning company and public officials. In the instances where there was no government involvement, there was collusion between large contractors who operated an invisible roster. Mr Montil's report says the company which won the contract through a "fake" lowest bid - inevitably overpriced as it had already been determined it would win - would then offer subcontracting jobs on the project to the unsuccessful bidders. But the report lay on the desk of the former secretary-general, Kofi Annan, for eight months, Mr Montil said. When the Herald contacted the UN, a spokesman provided the General Assembly's response to Mr Montil's report. Tabled last December, it read in part: "The Deputy Secretary-General indicated that a number of funds and programs had expressed the view that their tsunami activities had already been extensively audited and that a further consolidated report would be superfluous." Sydney Morning Herald_ 10/6/07

Tsunami-detecting network in development

Researchers are hoping to develop a network of ocean-floor and mobile sensors that would help detect tsunamis in the Indian and Pacific oceans.  The low-cost devices would complement existing deep-water tsunami-detection buoys, providing measurements and analysis of seismic movements more quickly and accurately than the buoys alone, said Louise Comfort, a University of Pittsburgh professor working on the project.  They would offer greater coverage of the oceans by filling in large gaps between buoys, allowing scientists to promptly alert officials of undersea earthquakes that could trigger tsunamis and endanger coastal areas, she said.  Caspar Star Tribune_11/22/06

Tsunami strikes Crescent City, Caliornia
5- to 6-foot surges wreck docks, sink boat hours after 8.1 earthquake hits near Japan

A tsunami generated by a powerful undersea earthquake near Japan struck the small Northern California fishing port of Crescent City on Wednesday, destroying docks, sinking a boat and fraying nerves.  Bill Steven, a commander with the Del Norte County Sheriff's Department, said the tsunami was "more a series of big surges rather than waves," but he said the damage to the town's harbor was significant.  The surges were reported at 5 to 6 feet high.  "The water surged back and forth like a river, and our docks aren't designed to handle swift water," Steven said. "About 50 percent of the harbor was affected. There's a lot of torn-up foam, wood and concrete. We know at least one boat was sunk, and we had to round up about 12 more that were torn from their moorings."  Steven said no fatalities or injuries were reported.  Crescent City residents are particularly sensitive to tsunami threats. The town was struck by a 21-foot-high tsunami in 1964 that killed 11 people and destroyed most of the town center.   San Francisco Chronicle_11/16/06

Asia tsunami warning system ready
A tsunami warning system covering the Indian Ocean region is now "up and running", Unesco has said.  The UN organisation, which has overseen the project, says the whole region can now receive and distribute warnings of possible tsunamis.  The system is in place 18 months after the devastating tsunami of December 2004 that killed more than 200,000.  The Pacific region has had a system for 40 years and others are planned for the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Caribbean.  BBC_6/28/06

U.S. Grants 50 Million to support water supply and sanitation in tsunami hit areas
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) granted U.S. $561,000 to the Ministry of Finance and Planning of Sri Lanka.  USTDA provided the grant to increase the supply of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities to people affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami.  The demand for safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities has dramatically increased in remote and rural areas of Sri Lanka as a result of the population movements stemming from the tsunami.  The grant directly supports training programs and capacity building for the Ministry of Urban Development and Water Supply's (MUDWS') Community Water Supply and Sanitation Project II (CWSSP II) which seeks to improve the social and economic conditions of rural Sri Lanka communities by improving health conditions, with a particular focus on water, sanitation, and hygiene.  Asiantribune.com_6/23/06

Nine months after tsunami, Maldives face drinking water shortage
According to a U.N. report issued Wednesday, the Maldives, (a string of 1,192 coral islands off the southern coast of India) still have a shortage of potable water, affecting nearly a third of the population of 300,000. The tsunami, which left 82 people dead on the islands, contaminated ground water with salt and waste from septic tanks. The U.N. Millenium Development Goals report described the shortage of safe drinking water as one of the biggest development challenges facing the Maldives. AP/ Environmental News Network_ 9/14/05

June, 2005

Aceh village nearly destroyed by Dec. 26 tsunami still battling for water
Five months after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated large parts of the Indonesian province of Aceh, the village of Lampuuk is still struggling to get back on its feet. It is still totally reliant on daily deliveries of water, courtesy of local and international NGOs. The villagers say they are never sure when the water is coming or who is bringing it, so they use it sparingly. BBC News_ 6/2/05

Unicef takes over GE water treatment plant in Aceh, Indonesia
UNICEF has contracted PT Suptraco, a private Indonesian company, for a period of seven months to operate and manage the GE water treatment plant, one of the primary sources of water for Indonesia in Banda Aceh.  The plant management was officially handed over by volunteers from CHM2HILL, who have been managing the donated water treatment plant since January.  The contract, valued at US$128,000, includes operation and management costs, as well as training for five operators from PDAM (Aceh public water treatment company).   Indonesia Relief_5/16/05

Red Cross and Red Crescent launch $653 million, 5-year tsunami aid plan to improve water, sanitation and other systems

The wide-ranging project, covering 2005-2010, is the biggest and longest ever mounted by the Geneva-based International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), which links organizations in more than 181 countries. The cost will be covered by funds already raised by its member bodies. The 10 Indian Ocean countries hit by the Dec. 26 tsunami, and which are covered by the IFRC's project, were Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Seychelles and Somalia. The program will help more than 1 million people by the end of this year and includes rebuilding or improving homes, hospitals and clinics, water and sanitation systems and providing social support to victims. Reuters_ 5/9/05

Indian Ocean tsunami provokes radical change by World Health Organization and others in crisis response

Heading the list of problems was how to end the chaos surrounding offers of help in the first stages of an emergency. While fiercely self-critical, the conference did agree that early steps prevented the epidemics which so often sweep disaster-hit areas, despite the destruction of water supplies and sanitation systems and overcrowding in camps. And the strong publicity campaign WHO mounted on the risk of disease and the need for sanitation and fresh water did prompt donors to provide this kind of aid in large quantities. Reuters_ 5/6/05

April, 2005

Indonesia tsunami relief effort faces tough times providing water, sewage and other needs

The massive international effort to help victims of the Asian tsunami faces new challenges in Indonesia, with frustration growing among survivors at the pace of reconstruction. Nearly four months after the earthquake-triggered waves swept the northern end of Sumatra island, leaving around 160,000 dead or missing in Aceh, many of the half a million homeless still live in tents. Others exist in sweltering, tin-roofed communal barracks hastily built by the government where residents complain sanitation is basic at best, and electricity and water are supplied only intermittently. Reuters_ 4/17/05

March, 2005

India cancels tsunami warning after powerful earthquake off Indonesia's Sumatra island

The 8.7 magnitude quake had prompted fears of a repeat of a Dec. 26 tsunami in which nearly 300,000 people were killed or reported missing across large parts of Asia. Reuters_ 3/28/05

Search for bodies from tsunami winding down: Accuracy of death toll hard to prove

Many of the dead in Indonesia were buried in mass graves, and not until February was there a system in place to identify bodies. Of bodies found since then, less than half a percent have been identified, Red Cross officials estimate. More than 300,000 people are dead or missing in 11 Indian Ocean countries, but the count is hobbled by confusion, politics and the magnitude of the disaster. Thousands are believed to have been washed out to sea or bulldozed into mass graves. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 3/22/05

Clean water and sanitation teams were keys to avoiding major disease outbreaks after the tsunami: International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

In a statement marking World Water Day, the aid associations said the response provided a dramatic demonstration of the need for clean water. The United Nations says more than 1.1 billion people around the world lack safe water and 2.4 billion have no access to sanitation, leading to over 3 million deaths every year. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 3/22/05

Tsunami aid shortfall more than $4 billion
Governments around the world have been urged to honour their financial pledges to the countries worst-hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami. The Asian Development Bank said there was a shortfall of more than $4 billion promised for rebuilding India, Indonesia, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. Nearly 300,000 people died in the 26 December earthquake and sea surges. Many thousands more had their homes and livelihoods wrecked. The ADB delivered its latest post-tsunami report at an international meeting of donor countries, regional governments and aid agencies in the Philippines capital, Manila. BBC News_ 3/18/05

Indian Ocean countries and UN experts agree on tsunami warning system

At a meeting in Paris, delegates decided the system, which could save thousands of lives, would be installed in three stages. However, the cost of the system and the location of a central tsunami warning office have yet to be decided. An estimated 300,000 people died when giant waves, set off by an earthquake, laid waste to Indian Ocean coastlines. Only countries bordering the Pacific Ocean are covered by a tsunami warning system at present. BBC News_ 3/9/05

Victims sue Thailand, U.S. and French hotel group Accor over Tsunami

U.S. and Austrian lawyers have filed a lawsuit demanding Thailand, U.S. forecasters and the French Accor group answer accusations they failed in a duty to warn populations hit by December's Tsunami disaster, a lawyer said Monday. The lawsuit was filed Friday at a New York district court on behalf of tsunami victims by lawyers including U.S. attorney Edward Fagan, internationally renowned for 1990s lawsuits against Swiss banks over Holocaust-era accounts. It demanded an account of their actions on Dec. 26. The disaster left about 300,000 people dead or missing in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Maldives, Bangladesh and East Africa. Hundreds of thousands lost their homes. Reuters_ 3/7/05

February, 2005

Tsunami contaminated drinking water supplies - UN
Fresh water supplies in countries hit by the Asian tsunami are under serious threat, according to a UN report. Drinking water sources have been contaminated by salt water and sewage, and every well in Sri Lanka may have been affected, the study says. Hazardous materials such as toxic waste and asbestos from buildings may also be in the water in some areas, it adds. The study, carried out in Indonesia, the Maldives, the Seychelles, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Yemen, is the first attempt to assess of the environmental damage caused by the 26 December disaster. BBC News_ 2/22/05

Give us water, food and schools, tsunami victims beg presidents

The former United States presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush snr flew into the heart of Asia’s tsunami disaster area to meet survivors and encourage fund-raising efforts for devastated communities. The ruins of the Indonesian village of Lampuuk, which lost almost 90 per cent of its 6,500 people in the tsunami, were a pitiful reminder that reconstruction has not even begun in parts of Indonesia’s northern Aceh province, which bore the brunt of the disaster. Of the 300,000 people feared to have died around the Indian Ocean in the worst natural disaster in living memory, more than two-thirds lived in Aceh. The Scotsman_ 2/21/05

U.S. Centers for Disease Control says no epidemics seen in tsunami-hit nations

But millions of people in nations devastated by last year's tsunami remain vulnerable to deadly diseases, said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. The Dec. 26 Indian Ocean tsunami killed an estimated 300,000 people in 11 countries, most of them in Asia, and left millions of survivors without adequate housing or sanitation facilities. International health officials and relief workers had warned that tens of thousands of people could die from diseases such as cholera, malaria, dengue fever and measles in the aftermath of the worst natural disaster in living memory. But only minor outbreaks have been reported in the past two months, said Gerberding, who credited international health observers for moving quickly into hard-hit areas to nip diseases before they spread. Reuters_ 2/18/05

Asia quake, tsunami moved islands, shortened days

The massive earthquake that triggered the Asian tsunami wobbled the earth on its axis, forced cartographers back to the drawing board and changed time by a fraction, but there's no need to adjust your clocks. The magnitude 9 quake was the fourth-largest in the last century. It caused upheaval on the sea floor near its epicentre off the northwest coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island and moved several other islands, but scientists say any movement of land mass can be measured in centimetres rather than tens of metres. Reports that the entire island of Sumatra -- 1,700 km long and 400 km wide -- moved 35 metres or more are wildly inaccurate, scientists say. Scientists at NASA, the U.S. space agency, said the Dec. 26 quake -- the largest to rattle Earth since 1964 in Alaska -- disrupted the planet's rotation and shaved 2.68 microseconds, or millionths of a second, from the length of a day. Reuters_ 2/8/05

Both coasts of Americas seen vulnerable to tsunamis

Both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the Americas are vulnerable to tsunamis like the one that devastated Indian Ocean shorelines in December and experts said they are scrambling to try to get warning system in place before politicians lose interest. The Dec. 26 Indian Ocean tsunami killed or left missing nearly 300,000 people. The magnitude 9 earthquake off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra lifted the sea floor 15 feet and displaced trillions of gallons of water, causing the monster wave that swamped coastlines as far away as Somalia. Reuters_ 2/8/05

January, 2005

Tsunami leaves up to 5 million needing urgent help with water, food or basic sanitation - UN

United Nations agencies including the WHO were rushing to complete a list of immediate needs to give to donor countries so that the international aid effort could be properly coordinated. In the Indonesian province of Aceh, where a senior U.N. official in Indonesia has said the death toll could reach 80,000, perhaps as many as 2 million, almost half the population, were in a "mess," David Nabarro, who heads the World Health Organization's health crisis team, told Reuters.  Reuters_ 1/31/05

Undersea Asian quake made water levels jump in Florida wells

The earthquake that triggered last month's deadly tsunami in Asia caused water levels to jump by up to 4 inches (10 cm) in monitoring wells deep under Florida some 8,000 miles away, scientists said. Hydrogeologists with the South Florida Water Management District saw the spike about an hour after the 9.0-magnitude quake struck off the coast of northern Sumatra on Dec. 26. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that seismic waves from the earthquake traveled across the globe at approximately 7,400 mph (11,840 kph), causing small water-filled crevices in the Florida aquifer to expand and contract. That forced water in and out of the wells, which ranged in depth from 1,350 to 1,900 feet in southern Florida, the scientists said. Scientists in other states reported similar readings in deep wells, resulting from the earthquake off Sumatra. Reuters_ 1/21/05

Three UK water treatment experts in Indonsia refugee camps teaching use of portable emergency treatment plants

Mark Burton, Andy Shorey and Rob Hyler from Bournemouth and West Hampshire Water will set up the equipment, and then train locals how to run them. Three camps, housing 66,000 people on the island of Sumatra, have been earmarked for the equipment. Bournemouth & West Hampshire Water has been coordniating efforts with its parent company Cascal, which operates in Batam, Indonesia.  BBC News_ 1/20/05

Tsunami toll tops 175,000; New threat warning to Indonesia aid workers; Indonesia vows to prevent corruption in aid distribution

Asia's tsunami death toll soared past 175,000 Monday as Sri Lanka confirmed thousands more dead, while fears re-emerged over the safety of aid workers in Indonesia's shattered Aceh province. Indonesia's foreign minister dismissed the report as "unfounded rumor." Indonesia, long ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, promised to overhaul the country's relief program amid fears mismanagement and corruption might divert some of the $7 billion aid dollars pledged by donors around the world. Reuters_ 1/17/05

NASA details Indonesian earthquake's effects on the Earth

They calculated it affected Earth's rotation, decreased the length of day, slightly changed the planet's shape, and shifted the North Pole by centimeters. The earthquake that created the huge tsunami also changed the Earth's rotation. Science Daily_ 1/14/05

Indonesian survivor camp grows by the day, causing problems with sanitation, water

The trickle of moisture dripping down a rock has become a drinking water supply in Calang, a city-turned-refugee camp. It's also the shower. And the trash dump. Tsunami victims from all around the ruined city of Calang, 70 miles south of Banda Aceh, have been arriving daily to a growing settlement that local officials say has swelled to some 7,000 survivors. Conditions such as diarrhea are becoming rampant and raising the threat of other diseases, such as cholera, typhoid and hepatitis, doctors here say. The city's own 10 doctors all died in the tsunami. Children fill water bottles from a pool of gray water, while the family across the dirt road said they used the same puddle for washing their dishes. Up the hill at a well marked with a sign reading "For cooking water only," Nilawati, 22, who is nine months pregnant, said she was filling a bucket for her 3-year-old son to drink -- not aware that bottled water was available just down the road. Already, three quarters of the children at Calang have diarrhea, said Dr. Rick Brennan of U.S.-based aid group International Rescue Committee, who was in the area for an aid assessment Monday. All the water sources in Calang are contaminated and survivors haven't set up any latrines to make sure what's left isn't polluted further. Relief agencies can supply enough food, but IRC will deploy a water and sanitation specialist. Dr. Bidik Catur, an Indonesian military doctor, also noted that no one has any soap or any other hygienic items. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 1/11/05

Indian Ocean tsunami measured by satellites as it raced across the seas

While a tsunami can rise to great heights when it arrives at the shore, such waves are often barely noticeable in the ocean. In this case, scientists found that two hours after the undersea quake that launched the tsunami, the wave was about two feet. An hour and 15 minutes later it was down to about 16 inches. After eight hours the main wave was down to about two to four inches, though a portion in the Bay of Bengal was still at about 10 inches, N0AA scientists said. The data, which took several days to analyze, came from the TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason satellites operated NASA and the French space agency, CNES; the European Space Agency's Envisat and the U.S. Navy's Geosat Follow-On. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 1/10/05

UK rescue volunteers begin supplying fresh water to people in the tsunami areas of Sri Lanka

Six members of Gloucestershire-based Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters (SARAID) flew to the island with a water filtration system. Spokesman Geoff Parkinson said the team was now based in Seenigama on the south coast and had used the machine to provide water for 800 children. The team has also pumped and chlorinated 20 wells where water had been contaminated, he added. It is estimated that more than 30,000 people have died in Sri Lanka and up to one million are homeless. BBC News_ 1/10/04

Former President Clinton and UNICEF launch $45 million clean water appeal for tsunami victims

Clinton and former President George H.W. Bush were appointed by President Bush to increase private donations after the Dec. 26 earthquake off Indonesia triggered deadly waves that swept across southeast Asia to Africa -- and Clinton said more than one-third of a billion dollars already has been donated to charities. But he said he also determined "more resources will be needed to provide clean water and adequate sanitation both for survival and for the prevention of disease."UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy told a news conference that at least one-third of the more than 150,000 people killed in the tsunami are believed to have been children, and more than 1 million children are homeless. "Water systems have been destroyed. They've been polluted. They've been clogged, or they've been spoiled with sea water. Re-establishing safe sources of water and decent sanitation is essential for the recovery of the communities involved," she said. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 1/10/05

Water levels in geologically sensitive Virginia well shift after South Asian quake

The earthquake that spawned deadly tsunamis also shifted water levels by at least 3 feet in a geologically sensitive Virginia well some 9,600 miles away from the epicenter, researchers say. The well near Christiansburg, which started oscillating about an hour after the magnitude 9 quake near Sumatra on Dec. 26, "just shot up and then it went down below where it originally was," said David Nelms, groundwater specialist with the USGS in Richmond. He saw the changes from his computer and said it took about five hours for the water to stop fluctuating. Richmond Times-Dispatch/AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 1/8/05

The tragedy and value of water: Diseases caused by water transcend tsunami disaster

In the wake of the recent Asian tsunami, health experts and emergency response teams are working feverishly to provide what North Americans take for granted each day: clean, safe drinking water.  Houston Chronicle_1/8/05

Salt water from the tsunami ruined water supplies on some Indian Ocean islands: May take years or decades to recover

Reports from across the stricken region suggest salt water filled wells and invaded porous rocks which communities depend on for their water supply. Atolls in the Maldives may be worst affected; islanders may have to wait for rains to flush out water systems.  BBC News_ 1/6/05

Australian army engineers bring clean water to Banda Aceh

The engineers from Darwin have set up a mobile water treatment and purification plant, easing fears of disease. Guarded by Indonesian troops, they handed out five-litre water bladders from the back of a trailer. Sewage also may have contaminated water supplies, leading to fears that potential epidemics of killer diseases like cholera could bring fresh tragedy to the devastated region. The demand for fresh water is so great the Australian site has been surrounded by barbed wire and armed Indonesian soldiers stand guard around the perimeter. Sydney Morning Herald_ 1/3/04 (logon required)

In Indonesia, trip for clean water kits proves a tortuous one: Troubled shipment highlights obstacles to distributing aid

The story of how a single load of water purification kits made its way from a Jakarta factory to the northern tip of Indonesia's Sumatra island -- the worst-hit area in the region -- highlights the difficulties confronting those supplying food, water and medicine and those hoping that that relief is really on the way. Washington Post_ 1/3/05

Asia's tsunami death toll hits 150,000 - U.N.

Some 150,000 people are now known to have been killed by Asia's tsunami, U.N. officials said on Monday, as helicopters and elephants were used to find and feed survivors and shift the rubble of razed towns. Half a world away from the changed map of South Asia, President Bush and two predecessors, his father George and Bill Clinton, urged Americans to give money to ward off hunger and disease in the 13 countries hit by the killer waves. Reuters_ 1/3/05

Israeli company, Avtipus Patents and Inventions Ltd., offers Asian nations free tsunami alert system

The system developed by Israeli inventor Meir Gitelis uses land and water sensors, smaller than a shoe box and each costing $170, to measure seismic activity and wave motion. Like other systems already in operation, the sensors can send alerts in seconds by satellite to governments anywhere in the world. Unlike others, this system can also relay warnings directly to private subscribers over cellphones, pagers or dedicated receivers, spreading the message more widely. Reuters_ 1/3/05

UK flies more bottled water to tsunami-hit Maldive Islands
A further 45 tonnes of bottled water is being sent from the UK to the Maldives by Scottish Water and Strathmore Water. The 20,000 donated bottles is the second airlift of water from the UK to the Maldives, which lie southwest of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. The DC8 aircraft will also bring 10,000 collapsible clean “aqua-pack” containers and 10,000 sterilisation tablets. Scottish Press Association_ 1/3/05

Ships sail from India with water and food for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

On board were food, drinking water, medicine, blankets, tarpaulin sheets, bleaching powder and other essential goods supplied by the state government and charitable organisations from Kolkata. Another ship, the MV Harshavardhana will leave for Port Blair carrying more materials collected by organisations like Ram Krishna Mission, Indian Red Cross Society, Unicef and other international organisations. Times of India_ 1/2/05

A boy named Tsunami

Sitting in a classroom in the capital of India's tsunami-ravaged Andaman and Nicobar islands, his 34-year-old father, Lakshmi Narain Roy, recounted the dramatic events leading to Tsunami's birth, three weeks ahead of time. "After all it is a name everyone will instantly notice and remember." Reuters_ 1/1/04

US pledges $350 million in tsunami aid; Death toll nears 150,000
The US plans to increase by 10-fold - to $350 million - its contribution to help the survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami. The largest pledge so far was made just before talks between senior US and UN figures on co-ordinating aid efforts. The UN says $1.2 billion in aid has been pledged so far, for about five million survivors. But relief work appears disorganised, correspondents say. At least 124,000 people died in the tsunami. The UN says the toll is nearing 150,000 and may never be known. BBC News_ 12/31/04

From all corners, a rush to get clean drinking water to survivors in stricken areas

Tanker trucks, bottled water, pumps, disinfecting kits and clean jugs are being rushed to regions struck by the tsunami in hopes of providing what survivors most urgently need: safe drinking water. Severe shortages exist in all the affected regions, but reports from health officials suggest that the situation may be the most dire in Indonesia and the Maldives. Vanessa Tobin, chief of water and sanitation for Unicef, said millions of water-purification tablets were being sent to the affected countries.  New York Times_ 12/31/04 (logon required)

Earthquake 'redraws the map' and causes Earth to wobble on its axis

The massive thrust of the tectonic plates probably caused some islands to move by several metres and may have heaved the Indian Ocean floor towards Indonesia by about 15 metres, seismologists think. The movement is likely to have altered the geography of islands like Sumatra. The force of the earthquake was probably also so great that it made the Earth wobble on its axis and cut our day length by fractions of a second. BBC News_ 12/31/04

Water is key to averting epidemics along Indian Ocean coasts

Tens of thousands of tsunami survivors are at risk from diseases spread by dirty water, mosquitoes and crowding, and the best medicine is large quantities of clean water, officials of the World Health Organization said yesterday. While no epidemics have been confirmed in the vast coastal areas devastated by the tsunamis on Sunday, the officials said they were most worried about diarrheal diseases - cholera, typhoid fever and shigellosis - as well as liver diseases like hepatitis A and E. Those diseases are caused by bacteria or viruses in contaminated drinking water or food, in sewage and among people who lack clean water to wash their hands. New York Times_ 12/30/04 (logon required)

Sri Lanka's Lion beer brewery switches to bottled water to help Indian Ocean tsunami survivors

The Lion Brewery plant in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, has so far produced 120,000 bottles of water for shipment to the affected areas, with Oxfam's help. "With so much loss of life, how could you not help?" brewery manager Nausha Raheem said. Reuters_ 12/30/04

Efforts to provide potable water in Indian tsunami-hit areas
The Indian government has directed the Central Water Commission and the Central Ground Water Board to take steps on a war footing to restore potable water sources and desalinate cultivable land in tsunami-affected areas. The Times of India _ 12/29/04

Fresh water running dry in Thailand
Freshwater shortages caused by sea water contamination of underground and surface sources threaten more suffering in tidal wave-hit areas. Groundwater Department chief Sanong Chantanintorn said new ponds would be established in nearby unaffected areas to supply locals with fresh water. ``We have to find new freshwater sources as soon as possible because rainfall will be scarce beginning next month when the dry season reaches its peak."  Bangkok Post_12/30/04

Tsunami leaves up  to 5 million in urgent need of water, food and basic sanitation - UN

Up to five million people have been left without basic essentials by the Indian Ocean tsunami, lacking either water or food or basic sanitation, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday. United Nations agencies including the WHO were rushing to complete a list of immediate needs to give to donor countries on Wednesday so that the international aid effort could be properly coordinated. Around 70,000 people are feared to have died when the worst tsunami in recorded history spread across the Indian Ocean, striking from Indonesia to Sri Lanka and beyond to Africa. Reuters_ 12/29/04

India plans tsunami alert system in wake of Indian Ocean disaster

A minister said the country had had no warning of Sunday's giant wave which killed at least 7,000 in India alone. A US-made pressure recording system is to be laid on the ocean floor and linked to surface data buoys. The new system will be similar to that used in the Pacific Ocean and should also provide warnings of cyclones. BBC News_ 12/29/04

Water aid flown to quake victims
Oxfam workers have loaded £100,000 of emergency supplies onto lorries ready to fly to earthquake victims in Asia. It includes water tanks, pumps, taps and temporary toilets for families left homeless by huge floods on Boxing Day. BBC News_ 12/28/04

Race to bury Asia's dead as toll hits 63,000

Stricken countries on the Indian Ocean worked swiftly to bury thousands of bodies as experts warned disease could kill as many people as the 63,000 already dead from the violent crush of Sunday's tsunami. While rescuers ventured into outlying areas cut off for three days since what was possibly the deadliest tsunami in more than 200 years, the United Nations mobilized what it called the biggest relief operation in its history. Reuters_ 12/28/04

Asian quake and tsunami prompts enormous aid effort
One of the world's largest relief efforts is under way to help the millions of victims of the Asia quake, which killed more than 50,000 people. Health experts fear disease could double the death toll. The UN says it faces an unprecedented challenge in co-ordinating distribution of aid to some 10 nations at one time. "The first wave of destruction has caused tens of thousands of deaths, but the second wave of misery is really caused now by the water and sanitation systems," said UN emergency relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland. In Sri Lanka alone, more than one million people are displaced and aid workers are under pressure to ensure they have clean water and sanitation to prevent an outbreak of disease. BBC News_ 12/28/04

BBC Confirmed Death Toll 12/28/04
Sri Lanka: 18,706 dead
Indonesia: 27,174 dead
India: 4,371 dead
Thailand: 1,400 dead
Maldives: 52 dead
Malaysia: 44 dead
Burma: 30 dead
Bangladesh: 2 dead
Somalia: 100 dead
Kenya: 1 dead
Seychelles: 3 dead
Tanzania: 10 dead

Stingy Americans?: U.N. official's comment hits nerve of American charity

A suggestion by a U.N. official that the world's richest nations were "stingy" irritated the Bush administration, especially when U.S. aid for Asia's earthquake is expected to eventually rise from the millions to more than $1 billion. The comment reopened the question of how to measure American generosity. The answer ultimately depends on the measuring stick. The U.S. government is always near the top in total humanitarian aid dollars -- even before private donations are counted -- but it finishes near the bottom of the list of rich countries when that money is compared to gross national product. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 12/28/04

Japan to set up tsunami warning center for Asian neighbors, but it won't extend to the Indian Ocean

Japan, which has one of the world's most advanced tsunami warning systems, will set up a centre in March to alert its neighbours after tidal waves ravaged much of Asia, an official said. The Tokyo-based centre will monitor the impact of earthquakes in the Pacific region from Siberia to Indonesia, but will not cover the Indian Ocean — the scene of Sunday's disaster — a Japan Meteorological Agency official said. Agence France-Presse (AFP)/Hindustan Times_ 12/28/04

Asia tsunami warning system feasible, but political

The major obstacles to creating an early-warning system that could have saved many victims of Asia's massive tsunami are not money and technology, but poverty and political and cultural division besetting the region it hit, experts and officials said on Monday. Six "tsunameters" along the Pacific coastline, one near Chile and 14 off the Japanese coast now feed data to the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Centers in Hawaii and Alaska. Scientists wanted to place two more of the tsunami meters in the Indian Ocean, including one near Indonesia, as part of a global warning system, but the plan has not been funded, said Eddie Bernard, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. The tsunameters each cost $250,000 and take about a month to build, Bernard said. "It has been vetted through a (United Nations commission) and they support it but there's always a delay between proposal writing and deployment of the funds." Jan Egeland, who heads the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told a news conference that disaster preparation activities in the Indian Ocean area have focused on monsoons, which are common and can be devastating. Tsunamis typically occur in the area once a century, he said. Reuters_ 12/27/04

Three centuries ago, a major tsunami struck the U.S. West Coast

A massive tsunami that killed more than 22,000 across the Asian coast Sunday was remarkably similar to one that struck the West Coast of the United States more than 300 years ago, scientists say. On Jan. 26, 1700, an earthquake of approximately magnitude 9.0 buckled the ocean floor from Vancouver Island to Northern California, setting off a tsunami that swamped the coast and washed away houses in Japan. "The parallels are incredible," said Brian Atwater, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist based at the University of Washington. Atwater is credited with discovering that the 1700 quake caused the Washington coast to drop suddenly by 5 feet. AP/Seattle Post Intelligencer_ 12/27/04

Aid teams rush from Europe to stricken south Asia after devastating tidal waves; Safe drinking water needed
Anything less than an urgent response would add many more deaths to a toll already above 11,000, aid officials said. Pope John Paul II urged the international community to help after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra -- the largest in 40 years -- triggered tidal waves up to 20 feet high that obliterated villages and seaside resorts in six countries across southern Asia. He said the "enormous tragedy" had saddened the Christmas holiday. The International Red Cross in Geneva appealed for donations of $6.7 million in cash, relief goods or services for the next six months. Jasmine Whitbread, international director of the aid group Oxfam, warned that without swift action, more people could die in the aftermath. "The flood waters will have contaminated drinking water and food will be scarce," she said. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 12/26/04

How the tidal wave or tsunami developed. It traveled at more than 500 miles an hour. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 12/26/04

Asian tsunami kills 12,300, many more homeless: No way to warn of deadly waves

More than 12,300 people were killed and tens of thousands left homeless after a powerful undersea earthquake unleashed giant tsunami waves that crashed into the coasts of south and southeast Asia. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck off the Indonesian island of Sumatra early on Sunday was the biggest in 40 years. It triggered waves that reared up into walls of water as high as 10 meters (30 feet) as they hit coastlines in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. In Los Angeles, the head of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said U.S. officials who detected the undersea quake tried frantically to get a warning out about the tsunami. Reuters/Yahoo_ 12/26/04


2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami or Tidal Wave
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