That’s how we wrapped Dhanushkodi. Once caught in the raging waters, if the currents don’t pull you under, the debris will finish the job. This rare event was witnessed by local fishermen. The sea around the island receded by about 500 meters from the coastline, briefly revealing the part of town that had been submerged by the tectonic movement of the 1940s. Dhanushkodi is now an abandoned town with only a few local fishermen living there at certain months of the year in makeshift houses. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Curious beachgoers even wandered out among the oddly receding waves, only to be chased down by a churning wall of water. Indonesian officials estimated that the death toll there alone ultimately exceeded 200,000, particularly in northern Sumatra’s Aceh province. “This was the most extreme tsunami event since 1960,” says Borrero, referring to the 8.6-magnitude Chilean earthquake and tsunami that punished the Pacific, including the leveling of Hilo, Hawaii, 15 hours after the quake. An hour later, on the opposite side of the Indian Ocean, the waves struck the southeastern coast of India near the city of Chennai, pushing debris-choked water kilometers inland and killing more than 10,000 people, mostly women and children, since many of the men were out fishing. According to local fishermen’s testimony, the 2004 tsunami of the Indian Ocean, the sea receded about 500 meters and had uncovered the ruins of the forgotten habitat of Dhanushkodi. The tsunami resulted in about $10 billion of property damage and other material losses. The tsunami contained twice the energy of all the bombs utilized throughout World War II. I got the chance to be with the fishermen while they were on their work. The low-lying island country of Maldives reported more than a hundred casualties and immense economic damage. Some locations reported that the waves had reached a height of 30 feet (9 metres) or more when they hit the shoreline. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... John Rafferty, associate editor of Earth sciences at Encyclopædia Britannica, discussing tsunamis. “Almost no injuries, because it’s such a difficult disaster to survive.”. The area around Rameswaram is prone to high-intensity geomorphic activity. “In earthquakes, a certain number of people die but many more are injured. After the incident of Tsunami and 2015 cyclone, the seashore is closely monitored and barricaded with heavy stone mesh. He credits the unsparing destructiveness of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on the raw power of the earthquake that spawned it. Somehow, we did not want to go and visit them as some exhibits. The Boxing Day tsunami would be the deadliest in recorded history, taking a staggering 230,000 lives in a matter of hours. A scientific study conducted by the Geological Survey of India indicated that the southern part of Dhanushkodi facing the Gulf of Mannar sank by almost 5 metres (16 ft) in 1948 and 1949, due to vertical tectonic movement of land parallel to the coastline. The lack of food, clean water, and medical treatment—combined with the enormous task faced by relief workers trying to get supplies into some remote areas where roads had been destroyed or where civil war raged—extended the list of casualties. Two natural disasters struck the coast of Tamil Nadu, both in the month of December — one, a cyclone 50 years ago, and the other, the tsunami of 2004. Dhanushkodi had officially begun and the slender finger of land had indeed been India’s southern most end. In December 2004, around the 40th anniversary of the deadly cyclone, the sea around Dhanushkodi receded about 500 metres (1,600 ft) from the coastline, exposing the submerged part of the town for a while followed by massive tsunami waves that struck the coast. But some of the worst devastation was reserved for the island nation of Sri Lanka, where more than 30,000 people were swept away by the waves and hundreds of thousands left homeless. “The sheer scale of the destruction was just mind-boggling.”. Many claims to have seen the surreal path during the Tsunami. The tsunami was the deadliest in recorded history, taking 230,000 lives in a matter of hours. Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, tsunami that hit the coasts of several countries of South and Southeast Asia in December 2004. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Indian-Ocean-tsunami-of-2004, Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). …was struck by a large tsunami that had been generated by an earthquake centred in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. At 7:59 AM, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake—one of the largest ever recorded—ripped through an undersea fault in the Indian Ocean, propelling a massive column of water toward unsuspecting shores. The Indian Ocean has a larger part of the land covered inside it. Buildings folded like houses of cards, trees and cars were swept up in the oil-black rapids and virtually no one caught in the deluge survived. As I was walking, saw them pulling out the fishing nets from the sea. Sri Lanka is just 19 miles (31km) away from tip of Dhanushkodi. Em dezembro de 2004, o mar em torno de Dhanushkodi retrocedeu aproximadamente 500 m da linha da costa, expondo a parte submersa da cidade por um momento antes das ondas do massivo tsunami atingirem a costa. Encouraging tourism to Dhanushkodi has … The Deadliest Natural Disasters in U.S. History. In December 2004, just before the arrival of the Tsunami that affected the Indian Ocean, the sea around Dhanushkodi withdrew about 500 meters from the coast, exposing the submerged part of the city. It’s completely reversed with tsunamis,” says Titov. Like the 2004 underwater earthquake, this too unleashed a massive tsunami. The ruined buildings are the remnants of a once bustling Thailand was next. Tens of thousands were reported dead or missing in Sri Lanka and India, a large number of them from the Indian Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory. ... taken that time and bodies kept floating they claim.Then govt had declared it has ghost town and not fit for living.In 2004 , they say water along the shore flowed some 1500ft backwards before hitting the coast as Tsunami. The resulting tsunami was given various names, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, South Asian tsunami, Indonesian tsunami, the Christmas tsunami and the Boxing Day tsunami. The tsunami and its aftermath were responsible for immense destruction and loss on the rim of the Indian Ocean. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Dhanushkodi … After the recent tsunami in 2004 Dhanushkodi. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! The actual height of the tsunami along a particular section of coastline is a function of both the height of the open ocean wave and local factors.The greatest run-up heights from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami Declared unfit for living, Dhanushkodi was again hit during the tsunami in 2004, but still survived to tell another tale. The quake originated in a so-called megathrust fault, where heavy oceanic plates subduct beneath lighter continental plates. The city of Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra was closest to the powerful earthquake’s epicenter and the first waves arrived in just 20 minutes. Titov will never forget the scene of widespread devastation he witnessed on Sumatra even months after the tsunami waters had subsided. The system was first identified as an area of low pressure over the Andaman Sea on December 15. In December 2004, around the 40th anniversary of the deadly cyclone, the sea around Dhanushkodi receded about 500 metres (1,600 ft) from the coastline, briefly exposing the submerged part of the town before massive tsunami waves struck the coast. Updates? Dhanushkodi is a place which will shake you from inside out, these furious yet gentle waves will remind you of something forgotten, hidden rage and anger will slightly flow in this oceanic water. As proof of the record-breaking strength of the tsunami, the last victims of the Boxing Day disaster perished nearly eight hours later when swelling seas and rogue waves caught swimmers by surprise in South Africa, 5,000 miles from the quake’s epicenter. ... it would take nature just another night like 1964 (or 2004 Tsunami) to topple us from our foolish egoistic pedestal. © 2021 A&E Television Networks, LLC. minutes, the tsunami can flow more than 1 km (0.6 mi) inland in areas with large coastal floodplains. More than 200,000 people were killed by a series of waves that flooded coasts from Indonesia to Sri Lanka and even washed ashore on the…. Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 | Facts & Death Toll | Britannica The ruined buildings are the remnants of a once bustling town that was the launching point for the ferry to Sri Lanka. “It’s a wave, but from the observer’s standpoint, you wouldn’t recognize it as a wave,” Titov says. It’s nearly impossible to imagine the 100-foot roiling mountain of water that engulfed the coastal city of 320,000, instantly killing more than 100,000 men, women and children. The historical context is that it is the site of one the worst natural disasters to occur in southern India prior to the 2004 Tsunami - the 1964 Cyclone which killed thousands of people and left this town a ghost town. Borrero remembers coming upon a colossal freighter loaded with bags of cement that had been flipped on its back with its propeller in the air. The 1964 cyclone struck Dhanushkodi on 23rd December and the 2004 Tsunami occurred on 26th December, is it mere coincidence that both these major disasters happened exactly 40 years apart? The ruined buildings are the remnants of a once bustling town that was the launching point for the ferry to Sri Lanka. In 2004, the Indian Ocean Tsunami caused the sea off the coast of Dhanushkodi to briefly recede more than 1,000 feet, exposing the submerged part of the town. Titov emphasizes that tsunamis look nothing like the giant surfing break-style waves that many of us imagine. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. 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