Wednesday, December 31, 2014

1846 hrs, Dec 27, 2004: a post on; revisiting the tsunami of 2004

Dec 27, 2004  (day of posting email by person)
1846 hrs

Hello all
God bless every body. It is really sad for those who died in the devastating Tsunami. It is severe at the time since it included many tourists and recreationers in the peak season.
I really expressing my deep feelings for those affected have seen in the TV news here. Could not imagine first time when we faced the quake. Today have seen the events have come in the headline coverage of the all national dailies.
Fortunately Bangladesh face very very less comparing the other regional. We have experience while in the morning 0709 hours faced the moderate vibration and finally found it was a quake. In Cox's bazaar, on the beach, high wave and also in the deep sea fishermen faced high wave and unpredictable waves while they were fishing according to some returned fishermen. In St. Martin Island, seashore tidal surge came suddenly after getting downwards for a short time. But nothing happened yet notified. But since it is time of calm weather most of the fishermen are out in the deep sea. Still there are possibilities of missing fishermen in the offshore areas.

Quake jolts country, Bangladesh
We are lucky because of the long distance from the epicentre.  One four-year old boy was reported to have been killed in Bangladesh as a result of the massive earthquake that caused thousands to die in other parts of Southern Asia. He was traveling in a trawler off the coast of Barisal when the trawler capsized. The boy's brother is still missing.
The earthquake off the coast of Indonesia sent three aftershocks across Bangladesh cracking buildings and surging the water levels of rivers, lakes and ponds. However experts say that the relatively small damage and loss of life was because of Bangladesh's distance from the quake's epicentre.
The biggest of the tremors was recorded at Bangladesh's lone observatory in Chittagong at 7 am and measured 7.36 on the Richter scale and lasted for 42 seconds. It was 1019 kilometres away from the seismic centre. The second tremor was measured almost two hours later at 4.35 on the scale.
It was reported that the family of four-year old boy who died was travelling as tourists. They were with tourists, traveling by trawlers from coastal tour spot to a offshore island. One of the trawlers capsized during the water swells caused by the earthquake. All other passengers were safely rescued. In Dhaka, the water of the Dhanmondi lake surged significantly.
The sleeping students of the hall, which is already under threat of collapse due to lack of maintenance, came running out of their dormitories. The Al-Beruni hall developed some new cracks.
In Chittagong the tremor, the tenth in the city this year - cracked some old buildings and swelled water by 4 to 5 feet in the ponds and other water bodies. A total of 78 earthquakes have been recorded in Chittagong in the last three years
The public library and railway buildings in the port city which already had cracks due to past quakes widened following yesterday's jolt while the streets were suddenly full of panic-stricken people, police and witnesses said.
Met office staffs said that sea became very rough and there was a fear of tidal waves. In many places reported that the quake lasted for six to 30 seconds and surged the water in the rivers, canals and ponds by a few feet.
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 according to Bangladesh Geological Survey. Bangladesh lucky despite the fact that the richter scale record was very high. 
Really sorry for those got the problem seriously and died....god will be with you...

best regards
Zahirul Islam
MarineLife Alliance
Holding #16, South Chartha
Comilla 3500

1122 hrs, Dec 28, 2004; a post on; revisiting the tsunami of 2004

Dec 28, 2004
1122 hrs

Dear All,
Last two days being the most devastating experience for people living in the A & N Islands and for us whose whole family is based in the islands and myself sitting in delhi....I was in touch with many people in Port Blair to get the status as my big brother (Mohammed Aslam, a teacher) is till to return from Car Nicobar.
The whole of the people in the islands were in panic situation. The relief work started around 2 pm yesterday and first three four trips of the helicopters brought only women and children and the situation was just friends told me that the relief team still does not know what to do and what to reply.......4 to 5 villages in Nicobar is completely washed off...people near the headquarter (in Nicobar) seem to be safe...
I was tensed the whole day yesterday after talking to my parents as there was no news from my brother, but late in the evening one lady who returned from Nicobar (injured) said that she has seen my brother and is safe....but he is still to return...
Naval ships are said to be bringing all the people who are there in Nicobar but is still to touch the is not confirmed whether they have started from Nicobar or not.....
Another worrying factor is that the relief team has still to think about other islands in the Nicobar group like Campbel Bay. no news from them...islands like Chowra, Teressa, Katchal, Pillomillo would be in a very devastating stage and nothing has been reported needs a strong heart even to think about the sitation of the people in these islands...
Places like Mayabunder, Diglipur and Rangat were not effected much...the damage was only due to the quake and not due to the behaviour of the relatives (my sister and my brother's wife) are there in Mayabunder but they are safe and said that nothing much has happended there apart from some cracks in the houses and buildings...
I also want to do something for the relief work in the islands and am approaching the officials to provide a channel and would let the group know if anything positive comes up...

regards (sharbendu...where are u??in delhi)))

anwar ahmed

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

1615hrs, Dec 27, 2004, a post on; revisiting the tsunami of Dec 2004

Dec 27, 2004
1615 hrs
Posted by Madhusree Mukerjee

Subject: SFGate: Warning system doesn't extend to Indian Ocean nations where death toll is highest

This article was sent to you by someone who found it on SFGate.The original article can be found on here:

Sunday, December 26, 2004 (AP)
Warning system doesn't extend to Indian Ocean nations where death toll is highest

(12-26) 21:22 PST (AP)
The catastrophic death toll in Asia caused by a massive tsunami might have been reduced had India and Sri Lanka been part of an international warning system designed to warn coastal communities about potentially deadly waves, scientists say.
More than 8,300 people in India and Sri Lanka were among the more than 13,300 killed after being hit by walls of water triggered by a tremendous earthquake early Sunday off Sumatra. The warning system is designed to alert nations that potentially destructive waves may hit their coastlines within three to 14 hours. Scientists said seismic networks recorded Sunday's massive earthquake, but without wave sensors in the region, there was no way to determine the direction a tsunami would travel.
A single wave station south of the earthquake's epicenter registered tsunami activity less than 2 feet high heading south toward Australia, researchers said. The waves also struck resort beaches on the west coast of the Thailand's south peninsula, killing hundreds. Although Thailand belongs to the international tsunami warning network, its west coast does not have the system's wave sensors mounted on ocean buoys.
The northern tip of the earthquake fault is located near the Andaman Islands, and tsunamis appear to have rushed eastward toward the Thai resort of Phuket on Sunday morning when the community was just stirring. "They had no tidal gauges and they had no warning," said Waverly Person, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., which monitors seismic activity worldwide. "There are no buoys in the Indian Ocean and that's where this tsunami occurred."
The tsunami was triggered by the most powerful earthquake recorded in the past 40 years. The earthquake, whose magnitude was a staggering 9.0, unleashed walls of water more than two stories high to the west across the Bay of Bengal, slamming into coastal communities 1,000 miles away. Hours after the quake, Sumatra was struck by a series of powerful aftershocks. Researchers say the earthquake broke on a fault line deep off the Sumatra coast, running north and south for about 600 miles or as far north as the Andaman and Nicobar islands between India and Mynamar.
"It's a huge rupture," said Charles McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center near Honolulu. "It's conceivable that the sea floor deformed all the way along that rupture, and that's what initiates tsunamis." Tsunamis as large and destructive as Sunday's typically happen only a few times in a century.
A tsunami is not a single wave, but a series of traveling ocean waves generated by geological disturbances near or below the ocean floor. With nothing to stop them, these waves can race across the ocean like the crack of a bullwhip, gaining momentum over thousands of miles. Most are triggered by large earthquakes but they can be caused by landslides, volcanoes and even meteor impacts. The waves are generated when geologic forces displace sea water in the ocean basin. The bigger the earthquake, the more the Earth's crust shifts and the more seawater begins to move.
Most tsunamis occur in the Pacific because the ocean basin is rimmed by the Ring of Fire, a long chain of the Earth's most seismically active spots. Marine geologists recently have determined that under certain conditions, the U.S. East Coast and other heavily populated coastlines also could be vulnerable. In a tsunami, waves typically radiate out in directions opposite from the seismic disturbance. In the case of the Sumatra quake, the seismic fault ran north to south beneath the ocean floor, while the tsunami waves shot out west and east.
Tsunamis are distinguished from normal coastal surf by their great length and speed. A single wave in a tsunami series might be 100 miles long and race across the ocean at 600 mph. When it approaches a coastline, the wave slows dramatically, but it also rises to great heights because the enormous volume of water piles up in shallow coastal bays. And unlike surf, which is generated by wind and the gravitational tug of the moon and other celestial bodies, tsunamis do not break on the coastline every few seconds. Because of their size, it might take an hour
for another one to arrive.
Some tsunamis appear as a tide that doesn't stop rising, while others are turbulent and savagely chew up the coast. Without instrumentation, so little is known about this tsunami that researchers must wait for eyewitness accounts to determine its characteristics. "It was a big tsunami, but it is hard to say exactly how many waves there were or what happened," McCreery said.
In the hours following an earthquake, tsunamis eventually lose their power to friction over the rough ocean bottom or simply as the waves spread out over the ocean's enormous surface. The international warning system was started in 1965, the year after tsunamis associated with a magnitude 9.2 temblor struck Alaska in 1964. It is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Member states include all the major Pacific rim nations in North America, Asia and South America, was well as the Pacific islands, Australia and New Zealand. It also includes France, which has sovereignty over some Pacific islands, and Russia.
However, India and Sri Lanka are not members. "That's because tsunamis are much less frequent in the Indian Ocean," McCreery said. "Unfortunately, we have no equipment here that can warn about tsunamis," said Budi Waluyo, an official with Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency. "The instruments are very expensive and we don't have money to buy them." The warning system analyzes earthquake information from several seismic networks, including the U.S. Geological Survey. The seismic information is fed into computer models that "picture" how and where a tsunami might form. It dispatches warnings about imminent tsunami hazards, including predictions how fast the waves are traveling and their expected arrival
times in specific geographic areas.
As the waves rush past tidal stations in the ocean, bulletins updating the tsunami warning are issued. Other models generate "inundation maps" of what areas could be damaged, and what communities might be spared. Not all earthquakes generate tsunamis. The warning center typically does not issue warnings for earthquakes below magnitude 7.0, which are still unusually powerful events.

Associated Press writer Michael Casey contributed to this report.
Copyright 2004 AP

0758 hrs, Dec 27, 2004; a post on - Revisiting the tsunami

Dec 27, 2004
0758 hrs

I find myself angered by the fact that not a single Indian agency issued a tsunami warning. It should have been obvious to any competent geologist that a tsunami was about to follow such a massive oceanic earthquake, and a warning would have saved many people in Sri Lanka and mainland India, if not on the islands. This illustrates the skewed priorities in science funding in India, where bomb makers get the best salaries and facilities while other sciences are neglected. The task of predicting a tsunami would normally fall on the plate of the Geological Survey of India. The GSI has a large presence on the Andaman Islands, where its scientists look for water and oil and pose for pictures on Barren Island. India needs (if it doesn't already have) a research center for earthquakes and tsunamis that is independently funded.

Madhusree Mukerjee

Sunday, December 28, 2014

0157 hrs, Dec 27, 2004: Post on; Revisiting the tsunami of Dec. 2004

Dec 27, 2004

0157 hrs


Situation in the Andaman islands seems to be getting under control. In the last couple of hours after relentless hours of frantically trying to get the people over there, I managed to speak to a couple of my friends in Port Blair. Some are fine, some minor damages, my house - devastated. However, the fate of 45,000 Nicobarese and others stands completely unclear. Just five minutes back at 1.00 in the night I spoke to the PA of Mr. Gyanesh Bharati who couldn't forward much concrete information.

The PTI reported "The fate of nearly 45,000 people living in an area stetching from Car Nicobar Island to Greater Nicobar remains unknown as communication links have totally collapsed. The aerodrome has suffered damages and an official in a disaster management NGO informed me that the airport is submerged. Knowing the location and geography of the spot, it is quite unlikely that sea water can run all that way. But, if that has - it's an extremely serious issue.

I am enclosing telephone numbers of some people over there who might be able to provide some more information on the issue:

Control room: 03192 231945
D.C Andaman: 03192 233089
D.C office Nicobar: 03192 265220/265190 (though all communication links have collapsed)

Fingers crossed
Sharbendu De

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2008 hrs. Dec. 26, 2004: a post on

Dec 26, 2004
2008 hrs

Hello everyone!
Another update. At the first place, thanks to RajSekhar and Mano Gupta 
for being kind enough to call me up to pass on latest informations.
Just spoke to a friend in Androth Island, Lakshadweep. At 11.30 am tides 
were 3.10 metres high (measured by Harbour department). When I called he 
was standing right at the sea beach near their power station. The 
population: 11,000 with most coconut cultivators. The coconuts were left 
on the beach for drying. Guess what? Obviously, all swept away or 
destroyed. They might have to face hard times now. But, casualties - 
none (not offcial). Minicoy - not badly hit, but affected.

Andaman: Port Blair --- Two places majorly hit (as of inputs trickling 
in from friends) - the coastal front facing Jawaharlal Nehru Rajkiya 
MahaVidyalaya which is a popular tourist spot as well favourite spot for 
locals to relax - smashed off ! Completely.

Junglighat in Port Blair is another coastal area and since I personally 
have lived there for years together, do know that its a low-level area 
and inputs indicate major damages. The worst part is my mother lives 
right beside the Junglighat coast (one house behind immediate sea) and 
no information still. All communication lines down.

Nicobar District: Car Nicobar - no news, no information - absolutely 
nothing. Being strategically closer to the Sumatran islands and a 
completely flat island, we just might need to cross our fingers and wait 
for news. Unfortunately again, my father is based in Car Nicobar.

Hope all gets well.
Sharbendu De

Friday, December 26, 2014

Revisiting the tsunami of Dec 2004: andamanicobar group

Dear Friends,
Today is, as we all know, the 10th anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami of December 2004, that influenced and changed the A&N islands like nothing we have known. As we remember what happened and take account of the changes, I thought it will be interesting to go back to the archives of the andamanicobar yahoogroup (that I have been moderating for over a decade) to see what happened here in the immediate aftermath of that event.
What I intend to do over the next few weeks is to re-post one (or perhaps) two posts from the e-group archive corresponding to that day exactly 20 years ago. I thought it will be a good way to remember and also to understand how things transpired and also to perhaps evaluate the value and relevance of this group itself. Before I do that however, I thought I'll also give a little history of the group that might be of interest. The group was started in October 2003 and had about 300 members in December 2004 when the tsunami struck. As would be expected interest in the islands surged and member of the group doubled to about 600 members in a months time. The number, of course, is small but that it doubled was of interest. The group has continued to be active since then with very important and relevant information being made available and rich and lively debates and discussions. The membership stands today at a little more than 1500 and this has roughly been the number for sometime now.

It is also interesting to note that the month of January 2005, the month immediately after the tsunami saw the maximum number of posts for a month on the group till date. That month we saw a total of 263 posts, a number that has not been surpassed yet for a monthly account though the membership has more than doubled.

Dec 26, 2004
1153 hrs
Dear Friends,
Below is the news item from the BBC on a major earthquake that hit South East Asia, earlier in the day. This news item does not mention the A&N at all, but there has been wide spread damage in the islands too. I am sending a separate mail with some initial information that we have gleaned from talking to friends in Port Blair.

Pankaj Sekhsaria

Tidal waves and tremors hit Asia

Significant casualties are being reported following tidal waves and earth tremors in countries across southern and eastern Asia. Large tidal waves striking coastal parts of Sri Lanka have reportedly killed at least 150 people.
Earlier, a massive earthquake, said to measure 8.5, hit Indonesia's Sumatra island at roughly 0800 local time. Earth tremors have also been reported in Bangladesh, while tourist resorts in Thailand have been hit by high tides. After the Indonesian quake, panicked people reportedly fled their homes in the towns of Medan and Banda Aceh, the capitals of two of Sumatra's provinces.
The US Geological Survey measured the quake at 8.5 magnitude. Indonesia's geological position - along the Pacific "Ring of Fire" - makes it prone to earthquakes and volcanoes. Electricity and telephone networks in the area have stopped working, making it difficult to confirm the extent of the damage, the BBC's Rachel Harvey in Jakarta reports.

Ground shaking
Indonesia's worst-hit region appears to be Aceh, a strife-torn province on Sumatra's northern-most tip which has seen heavy clashes between government soldiers and separatist rebels. Several houses in the towns of Banda Aceh and Lhokseumawe are said to have been damaged or washed away in flash floods.
A witness interviewed by a local radio station reported seeing nine bodies in Banda Aceh, where part of the town's largest hotel is said to have collapsed. "The ground was shaking for a long time," another witness told the radio station.The impact of the earthquake has been recorded as far afield as the Thai capital, Bangkok, and Singapore.
In November, 29 people died when an earthquake struck Indonesia's eastern province of Papua.


Dec 26, 2004
1155 hrs

Dear Friends,
Some initial information gleaned from friends in Port Blair indicates that there has been widespread damage caused in Port Blair because of the earthquake that hit about 6.30 IST. There reports of atleast two deaths as well. Many of the concrete, multistorey buildings in the city have developed cracks and at least one is said to have collapsed.
The Phoenix Bay jetty is also said to have gone half under water, as the city has been hit by tidal waves. Large parts of Port Blair are said to be without power and the telephone network has also been affected. Minor tremors were reported even as of about 11 am IST.
Car Nicobar, which is a rather flat island is supposed to have been badly hit, but there is no additional information. There is no news from Great Nicobar or the other Nicobar Islands which were even closer to the epicentre of the earthquake in Sumatra in Indonesia. Similarly there is yet no information from other parts of the Andamans such as North and Middle Andamans either.

Pankaj Sekhsaria