Lessons Learned from the December 26, 2004 Sumatra Quake and Tsunami

by Yumei Wang,
Curt Edwards,
Amar Bhogal,
Anat Ruangrassamee,

Part of: Disaster Risk Assessment and Mitigation: Arrival of the South Asia Tsunami Wave in Thailand


On December 26, 2004, a devastating earthquake occurred off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, creating seismic and tsunami waves felt by people who live around the Indian Ocean. This Sumatra-Nicobar-Andaman earthquake was one of the largest ever recorded with a moment magnitude of 9. It triggered a destructive tsunami that affected many coastlines around the Indian Ocean. The most severe damage occurred in low-lying coastal regions of Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India. As days passed, the world was largely paralyzed by the unfolding disaster and the extent of the human toll estimated at over one-quarter million deaths. The tsunami destroyed much of what lay in its path, inflicting the heaviest tsunami casualty loss in recorded history and creating an international human tragedy. This paper reviews the investigation findings in coastal Thailand and discusses some of the lessons learned from this tragedy.

Subject Headings: Developing countries | Tsunamis | Seismic waves | Ocean engineering | Human and behavioral factors | Earthquakes | Shores


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