Boxing Day tsunami 2004 – what happened, which countries were hit by the Indian Ocean earthquake and how many died?
24th August 2021

THE Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 claimed hundreds of thousands of lives on what should have been a day of celebration.

The tsunami was one of the worst known natural disasters in human history which claimed thousands of lives. Here is what we know.

What happened during the Boxing Day tsunami?

More than 200,000 died when an underwater earthquake set off the tsunami in the early hours of December 26 2004.

At 00.59am GMT a 9.2 magnitude earthquake struck the western coast of Indonesia.

It was the third largest to ever be recorded in Sumatra, unleashing a force said to be 1,5000 times greater than the Hiroshima bomb.

The quake lasted around 10 minutes, and 15 minutes later the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a tsunami warning.

Around 30 minutes after the quake, a tsunami struck the northern tip of Indonesia, killing around 130,000 people.

Its waves are said to have reached 20-30 metres.

Which countries were affected and how many died?

The tsunami struck Burma, Nicobar and Andaman Island, Thailand, the South East Coast of India, Maldives and Somalia.

Banda Aceh was the worst hit, with more than 60 per cent of its buildings destroyed.

At least 155 Brit tourists died while they were on holiday in south east Asia at the time.

David Long, marine geohazards team leader for the British Geological Survey told IBTimes UK: "Some people in Sumatra who would have felt the earthquake may have reacted to it, but that wave travelled a long way and hit countries which didn't feel the earthquake.

"The likes of Thailand and Sri Lanka didn't know what was going to be hitting them."

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